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

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Monitoring Democracy is an impressive attempt to assess the success of international election monitoring by systematically comparing several hundred monitoring missions across the globe. . . . [Kelley] also offers extensive concrete suggestions for improving monitoring in the future. This book addresses a major gap in the literature, in which there are numerous individual case studies but little serious comparative work. It is, therefore, mandatory reading for election monitoring professionals and for scholars doing research in that area.
International Affairs - Karina Cendon Bóveda
Monitoring Democracy provides an insightful analysis of a topic of utmost policy relevance. Kelley carefully considers confounding factors, selection problems and possible biases in the data. The book touches on many interesting questions, and even offers advice to practitioners. The data work is impressive, both in terms of the codification of monitors' reports and the number of case-studies.
International Affairs - Karina Cendon Boveda
Monitoring Democracy provides an insightful analysis of a topic of utmost policy relevance. Kelley carefully considers confounding factors, selection problems and possible biases in the data. The book touches on many interesting questions, and even offers advice to practitioners. The data work is impressive, both in terms of the codification of monitors' reports and the number of case-studies.
From the Publisher

Co-Winner of the 2013 Chadwick F. Alger Prize, International Studies Association

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2013

"Monitoring Democracy is an impressive attempt to assess the success of international election monitoring by systematically comparing several hundred monitoring missions across the globe. . . . [Kelley] also offers extensive concrete suggestions for improving monitoring in the future. This book addresses a major gap in the literature, in which there are numerous individual case studies but little serious comparative work. It is, therefore, mandatory reading for election monitoring professionals and for scholars doing research in that area."--Choice

"Monitoring Democracy provides an insightful analysis of a topic of utmost policy relevance. Kelley carefully considers confounding factors, selection problems and possible biases in the data. The book touches on many interesting questions, and even offers advice to practitioners. The data work is impressive, both in terms of the codification of monitors' reports and the number of case-studies."--Karina Cendon Bveda, International Affairs

"Kelley has produced a fine piece of scholarship that should be required reading for scholars interested in democracy promotion, as well as practitioners. The analysis is careful, broad, and admirably conversant in the details of specific countries and elections. . . . One of her greatest contributions is the associated data set, which is publicly available and codes for both the characteristics of the monitoring missions and their detailed evaluations. Hence, interested researchers are amply supplied with the theoretical and empirical tools to build on Kelley's work."--Michael K. Miller, Perspectives on Politics

"[T]his hook provides a rich, cogent, and thought-provoking entry point. It is essential reading for those interested in democracy promotion, international organizations and norms, and international influences on domestic politics."--Daniela Donno, Political Science Quarterly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691152783
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 3/25/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 964,878
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet 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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Table of Contents

Illustrations xi
Tables xiii
Preface xv
Abbreviations xix

PART I

Chapter 1: Introduction 3
Two Questions 6
Methods of Analysis 12

Chapter 2: Th e Rise of a New Norm 16
The Changing Normative Environment 21
Contestation 23
Increased Supply and Demand 26
The Popularization of Monitoring 28
Monitoring Today: Organizational Variation 34
Summary 41

Chapter 3: Th e Shadow Market 43
Disagreements about Contested Elections 47
Who Invites Whom? 54
Discussion 56

Chapter 4: What Infl uences Monitors’ Assessments? 59
Analyzing Summary Monitor Assessments 60
Five Types of Bias 63
Discussion 75

Chapter 5: Do Politicians Change Tactics to Evade Criticism? 77
What Constitutes Evidence of a Monitor- Induced Shift ? 78
What Are the Safer Forms of Cheating? 80
Data: Th e Varieties of Irregularities 82
The Record 84
Discussion 92

PART II

Chapter 6: International Monitors as Reinforcement 97
Altering Incentives to Cheat 99
Altering Domestic Conditions 104
If It Works, When Should It Work? 107
Summary 109

Chapter 7: Are Monitored Elections Better? 112
Measures of Election Quality 112
An Overview of the Record 115
Statistical Analysis 121
Discussion 129

Chapter 8: Long- Term Eff ects 131
Selection of Countries and Method of Analysis 133
Do International Monitors Improve Elections Over Time? 136
When Do Countries Follow the Recommendations of International Monitors? 141
Discussion 151

Conclusion: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 155
Do Monitors Assess Elections Accurately and Objectively? 156
Do Monitors Improve the Quality of Elections? 166
Closing Th oughts 176

Appendix A: Data Description 181
Two Datasets 181
Variables 184
Appendix B: Statistical Supplement to Chapter 3 195
Appendix C: Statistical Supplement to Chapter 4 197
Dependent Variable 197
Analysis 197

Appendix D: Statistical Supplement to Chapter 7 199
with Mark Buntaine
Additional Description of Matching Process 199

Appendix E: Case Summaries 211
with Kiril Kolev
Albania: Th e Importance of Leverage 211
Armenia: Paper Compliance 214
Bangladesh: Slowly but Surely? 218
Bulgaria: Motivated but Slow 221
El Salvador: International Meddling for Both Good and Bad 223
Georgia: Not So Rosy 228
Guyana: Uphill Battle 232
Indonesia: A Sluggish Behemoth 237
Kenya: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back 242
Lesotho: Deadlock 245
Mexico: Constructive Engagement 247
Nicaragua: Excessive Meddling and Deal Making 252
Panama: Both a Will and a Way 256
Russia: Goliath Beats David 258
South Africa: Remarkably Unremarkable 261

Notes 265
References 293
Index 321

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