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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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Related research

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

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Cited by:
  1. Stefan Dercon & Roxana Gutierrez-Romero, 2010. "Triggers and Characteristics of the 2007 Kenyan Electoral Violence," Economics Series Working Papers CSAE WPS/2010-12, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Roxana Gutiérrez-Romero, 2012. "An Inquiry into the Use of Illegal Electoral Practices and Effects of Political Violence," Working Papers wpdea1210, Department of Applied Economics at Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona.
  3. Gisselquist, Rachel & Niño-Zarazúa, Miguel, 2013. "What can experiments tell us about how to improve governance?," MPRA Paper 49300, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Roxana Gutierrez-Romero, 2012. "An Inquiry into the Use of Illegal Electoral Practices and Effects of Political Violence," Economics Series Working Papers WPF/2012-16, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Achyuta Adhvaryu & James Fenske, 2013. "War, resilience and political engagement in Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2013-08, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  6. Walton, Michael & Devarajan, Shantayanan & Khemani, Stuti, 2011. "Civil Society, Public Action and Accountability in Africa," Scholarly Articles 5131503, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  7. 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 128, Households in Conflict Network.
  8. Ana Silvia de Matos Vas, 2012. "Interpersonal Influence Regarding the Decision to Vote Within Mozambican Households," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2012-14, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  9. Bratton, Michael, 2013. "Measuring government performance in public opinion surveys in Africa: Towards experiments?," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  10. Gine, Xavier & Mansuri, Ghazala, 2011. "Together we will : experimental evidence on female voting behavior in Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5692, The World Bank.
  11. Ana Sílvia de Matos Vaz, 2012. "Interpersonal Influence Regarding the Decision to Vote Within Mozambican Households," CSAE Working Paper Series 2012-14, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.

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