Gerrymandering in Electoral Autocracies: Evidence from Hong Kong

Hok Wui Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Mar 2017


  • authoritarian politics
  • electoral autocracy
  • gerrymandering
  • Hong Kong politics
  • redistricting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this