Who monitors the monitor? : effect of party observers on electoral outcomes

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We show that monitoring by individuals with preferences regarding the outcome of the supervised task interferes with the task's process: the monitors bias the results in favor of their own preferences. In particular, using an original dataset from the 2011 national elections in Argentina, we exploit a (quasi) natural experiment to show that electoral observers with partisan preferences cause a 1.7% to 7% increase in the vote count of the observers' preferred party. This bias, which appears under various electoral rules, concentrates in municipalities with lower civic capital (Guiso et al. (2010)) and weakens the accountability role of elections.


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