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Political violence and social networks: Experimental evidence from a Nigerian election


  • Fafchamps, Marcel
  • Vicente, Pedro C.


Voter education campaigns often aim to increase political participation and accountability. We followed a randomized campaign against electoral violence sponsored by an international NGO during the 2007 Nigerian elections. This paper investigates whether the effects of the campaign were transmitted indirectly through kinship, chatting, and geographical proximity. For individuals personally targeted by campaigners, we estimate the reinforcement effect of proximity to other targeted individuals. For individuals who self-report to be untargeted by campaigners, we estimate the diffusion of the campaign depending on proximity to targeted individuals. We find evidence for both effects, particularly on perceptions of violence. Effects are large in magnitude — often similar to the average effect of the campaign. Kinship is the strongest channel of reinforcement and diffusion. We also find that geographical proximity transmits simple effects on perceptions, and that chatting conveys more complex effects on behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Fafchamps, Marcel & Vicente, Pedro C., 2013. "Political violence and social networks: Experimental evidence from a Nigerian election," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 27-48.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:101:y:2013:i:c:p:27-48 DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2012.09.003

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Alberto Chong & Gianmarco León & Vivian Roza & Martin Valdivia & Gabriela Vega, 2017. "Urbanization patterns, social interactions and female voting in rural Paraguay," Economics Working Papers 1589, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    3. Christian Helmers & Manasa Patnam, 2014. "Does the rotten child spoil his companion? Spatial peer effects among children in rural India," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5, pages 67-121, 03.

    More about this item


    Voter education; Political violence; Social networks; Nigeria; Field experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior


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