Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Gerrymandering in Electoral Autocracies: Evidence from Hong Kong

  • Stan Hok-Wui Wong

Abstract

To authoritarian rulers, holding somewhat competitive elections enhances legitimacy, but entails political risks. Committing electoral fraud can secure victory, but may jeopardize regime legitimacy. However, there is a tool of electoral manipulation that allows authoritarian rulers to reduce electoral risk while preserving legitimacy: gerrymandering. This article undertakes a systematic study of gerrymandering in Hong Kong, using a dataset that documents boundary changes at the level of residential buildings. The empirical findings show a significant partisan bias in electoral redistricting: opposition constituencies are more likely to be redistricted. Redistricting, however, fails to deter opposition incumbents from seeking re-election. No significant negative relationship is found between redistricting and opposition incumbents’ vote share, although redistricting does reduce their overall chances of re-election. The results suggest that gerrymandering, which involves the use of packing and cracking strategies in different districts, can be employed to undermine the aggregate electoral performance of the opposition parties.

Copyright

Footnotes

Hide All
*

Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (email: shw.wong@polyu.edu.hk). I thank the three anonymous reviewers, Martin Dimitrov, Barbara Geddes, Bernard Grofman, Franziska Keller, Karl Ho, Iris Hui, Lianjiang Li, Ngok Ma, Dorothy Solinger, Hiroki Takeuchi and Daniel Treisman for helpful comments. I am grateful to Kelvin Chan and Tim Tang for excellent research assistance. All remaining errors are my own. The research is funded by an internal grant of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Data replication sets are available at http://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataverse/BJPolS.

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Afrik-news.com . 2008. ‘Zimbabwe: The Art of Gerrymandering’, 22 March.
Ansolabehere, Stephen, Snyder, James M. Jr., and Stewart, Charles III. 2000. Old Voters, New Voters, and the Personal Vote: Using Redistricting to Measure the Incumbency Advantage. American Journal of Political Science 44 (1):1734.
Birch, Sarah. 2011. Electoral Malpractice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Box-Steffensmeier, Janet M., and Jones, Bradford S.. 2004. Event History Modeling: A Guide for Social Scientists. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.
Bunce, Valerie, and Wolchik, Sharon L.. 2006. Favorable Conditions and Electoral Revolutions. Journal of Democracy 17 (4):518.
Cain, Bruce, Ferejohn, John, and Fiorina, Morris. 1987. The Personal Vote: Constituency Service and Electoral Independence. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Carter, David B., and Signorino, Curtis S.. 2010. Back to the Future: Modeling Time Dependence in Binary Data. Political Analysis 18 (3):271292.
Case, William. 2004. New Uncertainties for an Old Pseudo-democracy: The Case of Malaysia. Comparative Politics 37 (1):83104.
Case, William. 2005. Southeast Asia’s Hybrid Regimes: When Do Voters Change Them? Journal of East Asian Studies 5 (2):215237.
Cheibub, José Antonio, Gandhi, Jennifer, and Vreeland, James Raymond. 2010. Democracy and Dictatorship Revisited. Public Choice 143 (1):67101.
Coakley, John. 2008. Electoral Redistricting in Ireland. In Redistricting in Comparative Perspective, edited by Lisa Handley and Bernard Grofman, 155172. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Cox, Gary W., and Katz, Jonathan N.. 1996. Why Did the Incumbency Advantage in US House Elections Grow? American Journal of Political Science 40 (2):478497.
Cox, Gary W., and Katz, Jonathan N.. 2002. Elbridge Gerry’s Salamander: The Electoral Consequences of the Reapportionment Revolution. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Crespin, Michael H. 2005. Using Geographic Information Systems to Measure District Change, 2000–2002. Political Analysis 13 (3):253260.
Democratic Party. 2011. http://www.dphk.org, accessed 9 August 9 2012.
Desposato, Scott W., and Petrocik, John R.. 2003. The Variable Incumbency Advantage: New Voters, Redistricting, and the Personal Vote. American Journal of Political Science 47 (1):1832.
Diaz-Cayeros, Alberto, Magaloni, Beatriz, and Weingast, Barry R.. 2003. Tragic Brilliance: Equilibrium Hegemony and Democratization in Mexico. Manuscript. Available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm.
Donno, Daniela. 2013. Defending Democratic Norms: International Actors and the Politics of Electoral Misconduct. New York: Oxford University Press.
Electoral Affairs Commission. 2003. Report on the Recommended Constituency Boundaries for the 2011 District Council Election. Available from http://www.eac.gov.hk/en/distco/ 2003dc_boundary_report.htm.
Electoral Affairs Commission. 2011. Report on the Recommended Constituency Boundaries for the 2011 District Council Election. Available from http://www.eac.gov.hk/en/distco/ 2011dc_boundary_v1_report.htm.
Electoral Affairs Commission. 2013. Terms of Reference. Available from http://www.eac.gov.hk/en/about/reference.htm.
Electoral Boundaries Review Committee. 2015. White Paper on the Report of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee 2015. Available from http://www.eld.gov.sg/pdf/ White%20Paper%20on%20the%20Report%20of%20the%20Electoral%20Boundaries%20Review%20Committee%202015.pdf#zoom=100, accessed 6 November 2015.
Erikson, Robert S. 1972. Malapportionment, Gerrymandering, and Party Fortunes in Congressional Elections. American Political Science Review 66 (4):12341245.
Geddes, Barbara. 2005. Why Parties and Elections in Authoritarian Regimes? Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington DC, 1 September.
Gelman, Andrew, and King, Gary. 1994. Enhancing Democracy Through Legislative Redistricting. American Political Science Review 88 (3):541559.
Grace, Jeremy. 2006. Singapore: Drawing Districts to Ensure Super-Majorities in the Parliament. In Delimitation Equity Project Resource Guide, edited by Lisa Handley. Washington DC: International Foundation for Electoral Systems.
Grofman, Bernard. 1985. Criteria for Districting a Social Science Perspective. UCLA Law Review 33:77184.
Grofman, Bernard, and Brunell, Thomas L.. 2005. The Art of the Dummymander: The Impact of Recent Redistrictings on the Partisan Makeup of Southern House Seats. In Redistricting in the New Millennium , edited by Peter F. Galderisi, 183199. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Hayes, Danny, and McKee, Seth C.. 2009. The Participatory Effects of Redistricting. American Journal of Political Science 53 (4):10061023.
Hetherington, Marc J., Larson, Bruce, and Globetti, Suzanne. 2003. The Redistricting Cycle and Strategic Candidate Decisions in US House Races. Journal of Politics 65 (4):12211234.
Hong Kong Housing Authority. 2012. Housing in Figures 2012. Available from http://www.housingauthority.gov.hk/en/about-us/publications-and-statistics/ index.html#p2.
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. 2013. Electoral Affairs Commission Ordinance.
Hyde, Susan D. 2007. The Observer Effect in International Politics: Evidence from a Natural Experiment. World Politics 60 (1):3763.
Jadaliyya . 2013. ‘Gerrymandering in Bahrain: Twenty-One Persons, One Vote’, 11 February.
Johnston, Ron. 2002. Manipulating Maps and Winning Elections: Measuring the Impact of Malapportionment and Gerrymandering. Political Geography 21 (1):131.
Kuntz, Philipp, and Thompson, Mark R.. 2009. More than Just the Final Straw: Stolen Elections as Revolutionary Triggers. Comparative Politics 41 (3):253272.
Levitsky, Steven, and Way, Lucan A.. 2010. Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Lust-Okar, Ellen. 2006. Elections under Authoritarianism: Preliminary Lessons from Jordan. Democratization 13 (3):456471.
Lust-Okar, Ellen. 2009. Legislative Elections in Hegemonic Authoritarian Regimes: Competitive Clientelism and Resistance to Democratization. In Democratization by Elections: A New Mode of Transition, edited by Staffan I. Lindberg, 226245. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Magaloni, Beatriz. 2006. Voting for Autocracy: Hegemonic Party Survival and its Demise in Mexico. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Magaloni, Beatriz. 2010. The Game of Electoral Fraud and the Ousting of Authoritarian Rule. American Journal of Political Science 54 (3):751765.
Malesky, Edmund. 2009. Gerrymandering Vietnamese Style: Escaping the Partial Reform Equilibrium in a Nondemocratic Regime. The Journal of Politics 71 (1):132159.
Manion, Melanie. 1996. The Electoral Connection in the Chinese Countryside. American Political Science Review 90 (4):736748.
Ming Pao Daily. 2011. ‘Foxy Data Leak Donors of the Pan-Democracy Camp’, 18 October.
New York Times. 2007. ‘Zimbabwe Political Standoff May Be Easing’, 21 September.
Norris, Pippa. 2014. Why Electoral Integrity Matters. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Rush, Mark E. 2000. Redistricting and Partisan Fluidity: Do We Really Know a Gerrymander When We See One? Political Geography 19 (2):249260.
Schedler, Andreas. 2002. The Menu of Manipulation. Journal of Democracy 13 (2):3650.
Schedler, Andreas. 2006. Electoral Authoritarianism: The Dynamics of Unfree Competition. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
Simpser, Alberto. 2013. Why Governments and Parties Manipulate Elections: Theory, Practice, and Implications. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Stokes, Susan C. 2005. Perverse Accountability: A Formal Model of Machine Politics with Evidence from Argentina. American Political Science Review 99 (3):315325.
Tan, Kevin Y. L. 2011. Constitutional Law in Singapore. Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands: Kluwer Law International.
Tan, Netina. 2013. Manipulating Electoral Laws in Singapore. Electoral Studies 32 (4):632643.
Tarre, Alejandro. 2011. Venezuela’s Legislative Elections: Arm Wrestling with Hugo Chavez. Fletcher Forum of World Affairs 35:137144.
Tucker, Joshua A. 2007. Enough! Electoral Fraud, Collective Action Problems, and Post-communist Colored Revolutions. Perspectives on Politics 5 (3):535551.
Wahman, Michael, Teorell, Jan, and Hadenius, Axel. 2013. Authoritarian Regime Types Revisited: Updated Data in Comparative Perspective. Contemporary Politics 19 (1):1934.
Wong, Stan Hok-Wui. 2014. Resource Disparity and Multi-Level Elections in Competitive Authoritarian Regimes: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Hong Kong. Electoral Studies 33:200219.
Wong, Stan Hok-Wui. 2015. Electoral Politics in post-1997 Hong Kong: Protest, Patronage, and the Media. Singapore: Springer Singapore.
Yoshinaka, Antoine, and Murphy, Chad. 2011. The Paradox of Redistricting: How Partisan Mapmakers Foster Competition but Disrupt Representation. Political Research Quarterly 64 (2):435447.

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed