Date of Award

7-14-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Carrie Manning - Chair

Second Advisor

Ryan Carlin

Third Advisor

Scott Graves

Fourth Advisor

Charles Hankla

Abstract

Election boycotts are a common occurrence in unconsolidated democracies, particularly in the developing world, with prominent examples from recent years occurring in Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and Ethiopia. Despite the frequent occurrence of boycotts, there are few studies available in the scholarly literature concerning the effectiveness of electoral boycotts, particularly as a strategy of opposition parties seeking to bring about the end of electoral authoritarian governments. This paper is based in the democratization literature, with a particular focus on the behavior and vulnerabilities of hybrid or electoral authoritarian regimes. Using an original dataset with global coverage including hybrid regimes from 1981 to 2006, this paper uses event-history analysis to determine the efficacy of boycotts in national elections among other risk factors thought to undermine electoral authoritarian regimes as well as the possibilities for subsequent democratization occurring following both contested and boycotted electoral processes.

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