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Voting as a Credible Threat

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  • John Londregan
  • Andrea Vindigni

Abstract

We offer a rationale for elections that take place in the shadow of power. Factions unhappy with policy can threaten violence. But when they lack common knowledge about (i) one another's rationality, and (ii) their chances of victory at arms, mutual overconfidence can precipitate civil war. We argue that elections can clarify the likely consequences of violence, and so facilitate peaceful resolution. Our theory is based on the recognition that both voting and fighting are intrinsically correlated actions: individuals who undertake the individually irrational act of voting are unusually prone the individually irrational act of voluntary combat.

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File URL: http://www.carloalberto.org/assets/working-papers/no.18.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Collegio Carlo Alberto in its series Carlo Alberto Notebooks with number 18.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:18

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  1. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2003. "Cowards And Heroes: Group Loyalty In The American Civil War," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 519-548, May.
  2. Matthew Ellman & Leonard Wantchekon, 1999. "Electoral competition under the threat of political unrest," Economics Working Papers 457, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  3. James D. Fearon, 2011. "Self-Enforcing Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1661-1708.
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Cited by:
  1. Hugh-Jones, David & Reinstein, David, 2012. "Anonymous rituals," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 478-489.
  2. David Reinstein & David Hugh-Jones, 2010. "The Benefit of Anonymity in Public Goods Games," Economics Discussion Papers 689, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  3. Aditya Bhave & Christopher Kingston, 2010. "Military coups and the consequences of durable de facto power: the case of Pakistan," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 51-76, February.
  4. David Hugh-Jones & David Reinstein, 2014. "Exclude the Bad Actors or Learn About The Group," Economics Discussion Papers 750, University of Essex, Department of Economics.

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