Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 15 > Issue 1

Candidate Elimination in Competitive Autocracies

Shichao Ma, Department of Political Science, University of Rochester, USA, s.ma@rochester.edu
Suggested Citation
Shichao Ma (2020), "Candidate Elimination in Competitive Autocracies", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 15: No. 1, pp 105-139. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00018098

Publication Date: 27 Jan 2020
© 2020 S. Ma
Autocracy,  Elections,  Formal modelling,  Game theory
Competitive autocracyrepressioncandidate selectioncitizen-candidate model


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In this article:
Related Literature
Preview of Results
The Model
Candidate-Entry Stage
Repression Stage
Welfare Implication of Partially Manipulated Elections
Remarks on Strategic Voting
Appendix: Proofs of the Main Results


I build a citizen-candidate model in which one candidate, the incumbent, can selectively eliminate other citizen-candidates. I apply it to study candidate elimination in competitive autocracies. I find that the incumbent either eliminates all competitive challengers to win the election, removes a smaller subset of challengers to select a preferable successor, or organizes a free and fair election and loses power. In a free and fair election, the median voter result does not hold. For a large range of parameters, the successor selected by the incumbent can be more moderate than any candidate that would emerge from a free and fair election. Consequently, compared to a free and fair election, the median voter may be better off in a rigged election.