Don't make war, make elections: Franchise extension and violence in XIXth-century Colombia
AbstractThis paper studies the effect of strengthening democracy, as captured by an increase in voting rights, on the incidence of violent civil conflict in nineteenth-century Colombia. Empirically studying the relationship between democracy and conflict is challenging, not only because of conceptual problems in defining and measuring democracy, but also because political institutions and violence are jointly determined. We take advantage of an experiment of history to examine the impact of one simple, measurable dimension of democracy (the size of the franchise) on conflict, while at the same time attempting to overcome the identification problem. In 1853, Colombia established universal male suffrage. Using a simple difference-indifferences specification at the municipal level, we find that municipalities where more voters were enfranchised relative to their population experienced fewer violent political battles while the reform was in effect. The results are robust to including a number of additional controls. Moreover, we investigate the potential mechanisms driving the results. In particular, we look at which components of the proportion of new voters in 1853 explain the results, and we examine if results are stronger in places with more political competition and state capacity. We interpret our findings as suggesting that violence in nineteenth-century Colombia was a technology for political elites to compete for the rents from power, and that democracy constituted an alternative way to compete which substituted violence.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO in its series DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO with number 010545.
Date of creation: 03 Mar 2013
Date of revision:
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Democracy; Civil Conflict; Colombia;
Other versions of this item:
- Leopoldo Fergusson & Juan F. Vargas, 2013. "Don't Make War, Make Elections. Franchise Extension and Violence in XIXth-Century Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 010584, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
- D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances
- P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-03-09 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2013-03-09 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-HIS-2013-03-09 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-LAM-2013-03-09 (Central & South America)
- NEP-POL-2013-03-09 (Positive Political Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Jorge Tovar, 2007. "La Manumisión en Colombia: 1821 -1851. Un análisis cuantitativo," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 004387, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
- Mario Chacón & James A. Robinson & Ragnar Torvik, 2011.
"When is Democracy an Equilibrium? Theory and Evidence from Colombia's La Violencia,"
Journal of Conflict Resolution,
Peace Science Society (International), vol. 55(3), pages 366-396, June.
- Ragnar Torvik & James A. Robinson & Mario Chacón, 2006. "When is Democracy an Equilibrium?: Theory and Evidence from Colombia's La Violencia," Working Paper Series 7106, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
- Mario Chacon & James A. Robinson & Ragnar Torvik, 2006. "When is Democracy an Equilibrium?: Theory and Evidence from Colombia's "La Violencia"," NBER Working Papers 12789, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Mario Chacón & James A. Robinson & Ragnar Torvik, 2006. "When is Democracy an Equilibrium?: Theory and Evidence from Colombia’s La Violencia," HiCN Working Papers 21, Households in Conflict Network.
- Chacón, Mario & Robinson, James A & Torvik, Ragnar, 2006. "When is Democracy an Equilibrium? Theory and Evidence from Colombia's La Violencia," CEPR Discussion Papers 5679, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Acemoglu,Daron & Robinson,James A., 2009.
"Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521671422, November.
Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- No haga la guerra, haga elecciones
by Guest blogger in Hacia el desarrollo efectivo on 2013-05-28 12:40:52
- Development that Works: Dont make war, make elections
by Guest blogger in Eval Central on 2013-05-28 12:38:53
RePEc Biblio mentionsAs found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
- > Economic History > Regional Economic History > Latin American Economic History > Economic History of Colombia
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