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Partisanship and unreformed bureaucracy : The drivers of election fraud in Sweden, 1719–1908

Teorell, Jan LU (2017) In Social Science History 41(2). p.201-225
Abstract

This paper explains election fraud historically in the case of Sweden, drawing on original data from second-instance election petitions filed in 1719–1908. These petitions reveal systematic procedural violations committed by local election officials toward the end of the Age of Liberty in the eighteenth century. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, fraud had been largely purged from Swedish elections, and most petitions instead concerned unclear regulations pertaining to suffrage and eligibility criteria. I argue that this development cannot be explained by changes in electoral rules, the degree of competitiveness, or shifts in economic development or inequality. Instead, the ebb and flow of electoral fraud in Sweden could best be... (More)

This paper explains election fraud historically in the case of Sweden, drawing on original data from second-instance election petitions filed in 1719–1908. These petitions reveal systematic procedural violations committed by local election officials toward the end of the Age of Liberty in the eighteenth century. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, fraud had been largely purged from Swedish elections, and most petitions instead concerned unclear regulations pertaining to suffrage and eligibility criteria. I argue that this development cannot be explained by changes in electoral rules, the degree of competitiveness, or shifts in economic development or inequality. Instead, the ebb and flow of electoral fraud in Sweden could best be understood as stemming from the professionalization of the bureaucracy in combination with the extent to which elections were partisan. This novel mechanism for generating election fraud is corroborated qualitatively in a within-case longitudinal analysis and from quantitative data on city elections in 1771. I argue that similar processes may explain the rise and fall of election fraud historically in other established Western democracies, such as Britain and the United States.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Social Science History
volume
41
issue
2
pages
25 pages
publisher
Duke University Press
external identifiers
  • scopus:85017552998
ISSN
0145-5532
DOI
10.1017/ssh.2017.8
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
0341896b-0f54-4f44-bff9-c68503d50d08
date added to LUP
2017-05-08 15:51:08
date last changed
2018-01-07 12:02:22
@article{0341896b-0f54-4f44-bff9-c68503d50d08,
  abstract     = {<p>This paper explains election fraud historically in the case of Sweden, drawing on original data from second-instance election petitions filed in 1719–1908. These petitions reveal systematic procedural violations committed by local election officials toward the end of the Age of Liberty in the eighteenth century. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, fraud had been largely purged from Swedish elections, and most petitions instead concerned unclear regulations pertaining to suffrage and eligibility criteria. I argue that this development cannot be explained by changes in electoral rules, the degree of competitiveness, or shifts in economic development or inequality. Instead, the ebb and flow of electoral fraud in Sweden could best be understood as stemming from the professionalization of the bureaucracy in combination with the extent to which elections were partisan. This novel mechanism for generating election fraud is corroborated qualitatively in a within-case longitudinal analysis and from quantitative data on city elections in 1771. I argue that similar processes may explain the rise and fall of election fraud historically in other established Western democracies, such as Britain and the United States.</p>},
  author       = {Teorell, Jan},
  issn         = {0145-5532},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {201--225},
  publisher    = {Duke University Press},
  series       = {Social Science History},
  title        = {Partisanship and unreformed bureaucracy : The drivers of election fraud in Sweden, 1719–1908},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/ssh.2017.8},
  volume       = {41},
  year         = {2017},
}