How the US Electoral Cycle Affects Elections Around the World
We probe whether foreign elections held close to US elections feature more bias. We use a game to demonstrate that greater monitoring costs - due to domestic distractions - result in more cheating by foreign incumbents in equilibrium. Foreign incumbents, however, have no incentive to adjust their election cycle to match the US one. This suggests we can identify the relationship empirically. We proceed to develop a novel measure of monitoring costs. To that end, we scrape texts from Congress and the Presidency. We demonstrate that there is less attention to foreign elections when American polls are close. Next, we evaluate empirically the equilibrium prediction of more biased elections abroad as a result of less attention. We examine the universe of all 4,200 contests since 1945. We use an index of bias to show the prediction holds - for Presidential, and not midterm elections. We conclude that international pressure contributes to democratization.