At this year's Southern Political Science Association Conference, I presented a paper (co-authored with Fredrik Sjoberg) assessing local political machines and electoral competition in Ukraine.
While the business sector has legitimate policy interests and the right to lobby for particular outcomes, it has often been accused of using illegitimate means to secure its preferred policies. Extending studies that describe machine politics in Ukraine, our paper investigates the connection between "boss" candidates and allegations of fraud, using data from the 2012 parliamentary elections. We combined candidate biographies, election results, and crowdsourced election observation data, and found that higher levels of competition among boss candidates is associated with higher levels of vote buying allegations. The analysis did not produce significant findings for other types of voter manipulation.
While the research should not be used to excoriate all business sector candidates who compete in Ukraine, it provides evidence that business sector participation is associated with specific fraud tactics, especially those which provide a competitive advantage to bosses.