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Votes and Violence: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Nigeria

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Author Info

  • Paul Collier

    ()
    (University of Oxford)

  • Pedro C. Vicente

    ()
    (University of Oxford)

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 Households in Conflict Network in its series HiCN Working Papers with number 50.

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Length: 56 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hic:wpaper:50

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Web page: http://www.hicn.org

Related research

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

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Khemani, Stuti & Walton, Michael, 2011. "Civil Society, Public Action and Accountability in Africa," Working Paper Series, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government rwp11-036, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  4. Roxana Gutierrez-Romero, 2012. "An Inquiry into the Use of Illegal Electoral Practices and Effects of Political Violence," Economics Series Working Papers, University of Oxford, Department of Economics WPF/2012-16, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. 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).
  6. Gisselquist, Rachel & Niño-Zarazúa, Miguel, 2013. "What can experiments tell us about how to improve governance?," MPRA Paper 49300, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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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