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Voting as a Credible Threat

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  • Londregan, John

    (Princeton U)

  • Vindigni, Andrea
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    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, then 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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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy in its series Papers with number 10-04-2006.

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    Date of creation: Jul 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:ecl:prirpe:10-04-2006

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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. Fershtman, Chaim & Judd, Kenneth L, 1987. "Equilibrium Incentives in Oligopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 927-40, December.
    3. James D. Fearon, 2011. "Self-Enforcing Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1661-1708.
    4. Yoram Barzel & Eugene Silberberg, 1973. "Is the act of voting rational?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 51-58, September.
    5. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-89, November.
    6. Joshua D. Angrist, 1995. "Estimating the Labor Market Impact of Voluntary Military Service Using Social Security Data on Military Applicants," NBER Working Papers 5192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Matthew Ellman & Leonard Wantchekon, 2000. "Electoral Competition Under The Threat Of Political Unrest," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 499-531, May.
    8. Chamberlain, Gary & Rothschild, Michael, 1981. "A note on the probability of casting a decisive vote," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 152-162, August.
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    Cited by:
    1. David Reinstein & David Hugh-Jones, 2010. "The Benefit of Anonymity in Public Goods Games," Economics Discussion Papers 689, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    2. 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.
    3. Hugh-Jones, David & Reinstein, David, 2012. "Anonymous rituals," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 478-489.
    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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