Monitoring Democracy: When International Election Observation Works, and Why It Often Fails

Princeton University Press
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In recent decades, governments and NGOs--in an effort to promote democracy, freedom, fairness, and stability throughout the world--have organized teams of observers to monitor elections in a variety of countries. But when more organizations join the practice without uniform standards, are assessments reliable? When politicians nonetheless cheat and monitors must return to countries even after two decades of engagement, what is accomplished? Monitoring Democracy argues that the practice of international election monitoring is broken, but still worth fixing. By analyzing the evolving interaction between domestic and international politics, Judith Kelley refutes prevailing arguments that international efforts cannot curb government behavior and that democratization is entirely a domestic process. Yet, she also shows that democracy promotion efforts are deficient and that outside actors often have no power and sometimes even do harm.

Analyzing original data on over 600 monitoring missions and 1,300 elections, Kelley grounds her investigation in solid historical context as well as studies of long-term developments over several elections in fifteen countries. She pinpoints the weaknesses of international election monitoring and looks at how practitioners and policymakers might help to improve them.

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About the author

Judith G. Kelley is associate professor of public policy and political science at Duke University. She is the author of Ethnic Politics in Europe: The Power of Norms and Incentives (Princeton).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Mar 25, 2012
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781400842520
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / History & Theory
Political Science / International Relations / General
Political Science / Political Process / Campaigns & Elections
Political Science / World / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Why did election monitoring become an international norm? Why do pseudo-democrats—undemocratic leaders who present themselves as democratic—invite international observers, even when they are likely to be caught manipulating elections? Is election observation an effective tool of democracy promotion, or is it simply a way to legitimize electoral autocracies? In The Pseudo-Democrat's Dilemma, Susan D. Hyde explains international election monitoring with a new theory of international norm formation. Hyde argues that election observation was initiated by states seeking international support. International benefits tied to democracy give some governments an incentive to signal their commitment to democratization without having to give up power. Invitations to nonpartisan foreigners to monitor elections, and avoiding their criticism, became a widely recognized and imitated signal of a government's purported commitment to democratic elections.Hyde draws on cross-national data on the global spread of election observation between 1960 and 2006, detailed descriptions of the characteristics of countries that do and do not invite observers, and evidence of three ways that election monitoring is costly to pseudo-democrats: micro-level experimental tests from elections in Armenia and Indonesia showing that observers can deter election-day fraud and otherwise improve the quality of elections; illustrative cases demonstrating that international benefits are contingent on democracy in countries like Haiti, Peru, Togo, and Zimbabwe; and qualitative evidence documenting the escalating game of strategic manipulation among pseudo-democrats, international monitors, and pro-democracy forces.
This detailed account of ethnic minority politics explains when and how European institutions successfully used norms and incentives to shape domestic policy toward ethnic minorities and why those measures sometimes failed.

Going beyond traditional analyses, Kelley examines the pivotal engagement by the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Council for Europe in the creation of such policies.

Following language, education, and citizenship issues during the 1990s in Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia, and Romania, she shows how the combination of membership conditionality and norm-based diplomacy was surprisingly effective at overcoming even significant domestic opposition. However, she also finds that diplomacy alone, without the offer of membership, was ineffective unless domestic opposition to the proposed policies was quite limited.

As one of the first systematic analyses of political rather than economic conditionality, the book illustrates under what conditions and through what mechanisms institutions influenced domestic policy in the decade, preparing the way for the historic enlargement of the European Union.

This thoughtful and thorough discussion, based on case studies, quantitative analysis, and interviews with nearly one hundred policymakers and experts, tells an important story about how European organizations helped facilitate peaceful solutions to ethnic tensions--in sharp contrast to the ethnic bloodshed that occurred in the former Yugoslavia during this time. This book's simultaneous assessment of soft diplomacy and stricter conditionality advances a long overdue dialogue between proponents rational choice models and social constructivists. As political requirements increasingly become part of conditionality, it also provides keen policy insights for the strategic choices made by actors in international institutions.

This detailed account of ethnic minority politics explains when and how European institutions successfully used norms and incentives to shape domestic policy toward ethnic minorities and why those measures sometimes failed.

Going beyond traditional analyses, Kelley examines the pivotal engagement by the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Council for Europe in the creation of such policies.

Following language, education, and citizenship issues during the 1990s in Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia, and Romania, she shows how the combination of membership conditionality and norm-based diplomacy was surprisingly effective at overcoming even significant domestic opposition. However, she also finds that diplomacy alone, without the offer of membership, was ineffective unless domestic opposition to the proposed policies was quite limited.

As one of the first systematic analyses of political rather than economic conditionality, the book illustrates under what conditions and through what mechanisms institutions influenced domestic policy in the decade, preparing the way for the historic enlargement of the European Union.

This thoughtful and thorough discussion, based on case studies, quantitative analysis, and interviews with nearly one hundred policymakers and experts, tells an important story about how European organizations helped facilitate peaceful solutions to ethnic tensions--in sharp contrast to the ethnic bloodshed that occurred in the former Yugoslavia during this time. This book's simultaneous assessment of soft diplomacy and stricter conditionality advances a long overdue dialogue between proponents rational choice models and social constructivists. As political requirements increasingly become part of conditionality, it also provides keen policy insights for the strategic choices made by actors in international institutions.

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