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Votes and Violence: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Nigeria

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  • Paul Collier
  • Pedro C Vicente

Abstract

Following the wave of democratization during the 1990s, elections are now common in low-income societies. However, these elections are frequently flawed. We investigate the Nigerian general election of 2007, which is to date the largest election held in Africa and one seriously marred by violence. We designed and conducted a nationwide field experiment based on randomized anti-violence grassroots campaigning. We find direct effects on violence outcomes from exploring both subject-surveying and independent data sources. Crucially, we establish that voter intimidation is effective in reducing voter turnout, and that the violence was systematically dissociated from incumbents. We suggest that incumbents have a comparative advantage in alternative strategies, vote buying and ballot fraud. Voter intimidation may be a strategy of the weak analogous to terrorism.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2008-16.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2008-16

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Keywords: Violence; Conflict; Electoral Politics; Political Economy; Randomized Experiment; Field Experiment; Nigeria; West Africa;

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Cited by:
  1. Achyuta Adhvaryu & James Fenske, 2013. "War, resilience and political engagement in Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford 2013-08, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  2. Bratton, Michael, 2013. "Measuring government performance in public opinion surveys in Africa: Towards experiments?," Working Paper Series, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  3. Dercon, Stefan & Gutiérrez-Romero, Roxana, 2012. "Triggers and Characteristics of the 2007 Kenyan Electoral Violence," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 731-744.
  4. Christopher Blattman & Alexandra Hartman & Robert Blair, 2012. "Building institutions at the micro-level: Results from a field experiment in property dispute and conflict resolution," HiCN Working Papers, Households in Conflict Network 128, Households in Conflict Network.
  5. Gine, Xavier & Mansuri, Ghazala, 2011. "Together we will : experimental evidence on female voting behavior in Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series, The World Bank 5692, The World Bank.
  6. Gisselquist, Rachel M. & Nino-Zarazua, Miguel, 2013. "What can experiments tell us about how to improve governance?," Working Paper Series, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  7. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Khemani, Stuti & Walton, Michael, 2011. "Civil society, public action and accountability in Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series, The World Bank 5733, The World Bank.
  8. Ana Sílvia de Matos Vaz, 2012. "Interpersonal Influence Regarding the Decision to Vote Within Mozambican Households," CSAE Working Paper Series, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford 2012-14, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  9. Roxana Gutiérrez-Romero, 2012. "An Inquiry into the Use of Illegal Electoral Practices and Effects of Political Violence," CSAE Working Paper Series, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford 2012-16, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  10. Ana Silvia de Matos Vas, 2012. "Interpersonal Influence Regarding the Decision to Vote Within Mozambican Households," Economics Series Working Papers, University of Oxford, Department of Economics WPS/2012-14, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

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