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V-Dem Seminar with Nicholas Kerr

Research profile seminar

Nicholas Kerr (visiting scholar 12-16 March) Title: Electoral Cycles of Democratic Satisfaction and the Quality of Elections in Africa.

Abstract: Elections are a core institution of modern democracy and numerous studies have shown how free and fair elections can confer regime legitimacy by increasing
citizen´s satisfaction with democracy (SWD). What is less clear, however, is whether the positive effect of elections persist during other stages of the political process (i.e. non-electoral periods). This paper theorizes dynamic effects of election quality on democratic satisfaction, focusing on how the quality of a previous election can provide information for citizens to assess the outputs of the political system. We argue that clean elections positively affect citizen´s satisfaction toward democracy around election time but their effect tends to decrease during non-electoral periods. On the other hand, fraudulent elections tend to have a negative, persistent effect on satisfaction with democracy in electoral and non-electoral periods. Further, we also expect that fraudulent elections widen the gap in SWD between electoral winners and losers and the SWD gap lingers on in non-electoral periods. Using the Afrobarometer surveys (Rounds 1-6) including approximately 165,000 Africans in 34 countries, we find supporting evidence for our theoretical expectations.

Bio: Nicholas Kerr is an assistant professor of comparative politics in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alabama. His research and teaching experiences coalesce around issues in comparative politics and African politics with specific focus on comparative political institutions, democratization, electoral integrity, gender and politics, and public opinion. Nicholas´ current research agenda focuses on how multiparty elections in electoral democracies and competitive autocracies shape popular evaluations of political legitimacy including, trust in the electoral process, satisfaction with democracy, and support for regime principles. There are two main avenues of inquiry within this agenda. The first explores the design and performance of electoral management bodies (EMBs) in Africa with emphasis on how political elites and citizens respond strategically to the autonomy and capacity of EMBs. The second strand of his research examines the relationship between citizens´ campaign and electoral behavior and popular evaluations of political legitimacy. Specifically, Nicholas focuses on how direct experiences with election management, electoral manipulation, and third-party actors as well as the outcomes of elections influence citizens´ evaluations of 1) election integrity, and 2) the performance of state and regime institutions.

Date: 3/14/2018

Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Categories: Social Sciences

Organizer: Department of Political Science/V-Dem

Location: B336, Stora Skansen

Contact person: Natalia Stepanova

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