Journal Issue: Vol 1 No. 1 2020: 157-173
Article Name: Globalization, Democratic Institutions and the Fairness of Elections
Author: Md. Mujahedul Islam
A central normative argument of liberal democracy is that elections as instruments of democracy need to be free, fair and neutral to reflect peoples’ opinions. In many parts of the world, particularly democracies in developing countries of South Asia and Africa, governments are formed by elections that are sometimes considered 'flawed' by the people and international observers. This raises a critical question with far-reaching implications for democracy: What affects the fairness of the elections? Is there any significant direct effect of globalization on elections? If not, under what circumstances does globalization influence the quality of elections? Do effective political institutions condition the effect of globalization on the fairness of the elections? I empirically assess these questions from 2006 to 2010 for 100 countries in a time-series cross-sectional statistical model using the 2015 Quality of Government (QoG) dataset. The results suggest that greater levels of globalization significantly increase the fairness of the elections in countries where effective political institutions exist. The results furthermore demonstrate that in the absence of viable democratic institutions, an increased level of globalization may not always correspond to free, fair and neutral elections.