Do Elections Create or Further Path Dependencies?


The dramatic expansion of multiparty elections in the post-Cold War period and the emergence of protracted transitions and divergent outcomes caused debates on whether elections create or further path dependencies. Some scholars argued that elections do have the power to usher in an increase in liberties and the level of democraticness in a polity and therefore create a new path dependency whereas others pointed out to the possibility of elections lending legitimacy to authoritarian rulers and enabling them to stabilize their rule through giving them adequate information regarding the level and spatial spread of support for them and hence further a path dependency in place. To solve this puzzle of whether elections create or further path dependencies, this study utilizes a dataset of 652 elections in 93 countries encompassing both the Third and Fourth Waves to examine the effect of elections on tangible changes in quality of democracy measured through indices like electoral integrity. Assessed within a larger supply and demand framework, the findings suggest that reiterated multiparty elections have a significant effect on electoral integrity and hence on creation of a new path dependency on improving the quality of democracy.

MPSA 78th Annual Conference
Murat Abus
Murat Abus
Ph.D. Student, Political Science

I study political behavior, public opinion, media, democratic theory, gender in politics, and methodology.