Are African elections unique?

Stream: Panel 63 - International Relations: Foreign Direct Investment and Elections in Africa 
Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Time: 9.00 am – 10.30 am


A common critique of comparative political research is that some comparisons are unbalanced, unfair, or even impossible. For instance, comparing the Netherlands to Burundi (according to this approach) would be unfruitful—these two countries have different histories, institutional capacities, levels of economic development, etc. Consequently, comparing wealthy institutionally stable countries with other that are less developed and more unstable would be not only unfair but unethical give the potential theoretical and policymaking conclusions that may arise from such research. Moreover, some assert that some areas of the world are sui generis, especially in their suitability for certain political institutions. This paper questions this approach and argues that comparisons across regions is a fruitful theoretical and empirical endeavor when examining elections’ integrity. Election quality does vary across countries and regions, but this variation can be explained by observable political and economic causal mechanisms. We outline several of these mechanisms and test them empirically using data on the integrity of 180 elections across 153 countries from 2013-2015.


Ferran Martinez i Coma (Presenter), University of Sydney

Richard Frank (Presenter), ANU

Jorgen Elklitt, aarhus university