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Rigging elections with violence


  • Ashish Chaturvedi



In most developing countries even today, political parties spend a substantial fraction of their resources in attracting voters through ideological exhortation as well as force. In this paper we present a model of political contest between two parties that compete in two distinct arenas though the goal of the contest in both arenas is the same-to garner more political support. In the first, which we call “ideological”, the contest involves no use of force. In the second, which we call “conflictual”, party activists use violence either to force ideological supporters of the competing party to vote in their favor or restrain them from voting. We show that a party with lower initial political support will resort to more political violence, ceteris paribus and as the fraction of undecided voters goes up, elections will tend to be less conflictual. We also show that if there is an incumbency advantage, then the resources devoted to creating political unrest increase in equilibrium and political competition is more violent. We also provide some historic and journalistic evidence that supports our results. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Suggested Citation

  • Ashish Chaturvedi, 2005. "Rigging elections with violence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 125(1), pages 189-202, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:125:y:2005:i:1:p:189-202
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-005-3415-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Matthew Ellman & Leonard Wantchekon, 2000. "Electoral Competition Under the Threat of Political Unrest," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 499-531.
    2. Konrad, Kai A, 2000. "Sabotage in Rent-Seeking Contests," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 155-165, April.
    3. Stergios Skaperdas, 1996. "Contest success functions (*)," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 7(2), pages 283-290.
    4. Daniel Sutter, 2003. "Detecting and Correcting Election Fraud," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 433-451, Summer.
    5. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-580, June.
    6. Baumol, William J., 1992. "Innovation and strategic sabotage as a feedback process," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 275-290, December.
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:89:y:1995:i:01:p:49-61_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Stergios Skaperdas, 2003. "Restraining the Genuine Homo Economicus: Why the Economy Cannot Be Divorced from Its Governance," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 135-162, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dmitriy Vorobyev, 2016. "Participation in fraudulent elections," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 46(4), pages 863-892, April.
    2. Iván Higuera Mendieta, 2017. "Control armado y comportamiento electoral: Un cuasi-experimento en el Caguán," Documentos de trabajo sobre Economía Regional y Urbana 256, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    3. Paul Collier & Pedro Vicente, 2012. "Violence, bribery, and fraud: the political economy of elections in Sub-Saharan Africa," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 153(1), pages 117-147, October.
    4. Blanca Moreno Dodson & Grégoire Rota-Graziosi & Clémence Vergne, 2012. "Breaking the wave of democracy: The effect of foreign aid on the incumbent's re-election probability," Working Papers halshs-00722375, HAL.
    5. Roxana Gutiérrez-Romero, 2012. "An Inquiry into the Use of Illegal Electoral Practices and Effects of Political Violence," CSAE Working Paper Series 2012-16, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    6. Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamannati, 2009. "Does Timing of Elections Instigate Riots? A Subnational Study of 16 Indian States, 1958-2004," Working Papers id:1835, eSocialSciences.
    7. Olivier Sterck, 2015. "Fighting for votes: theory and evidence on the causes of electoral violence," CSAE Working Paper Series 2015-19, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    8. Andrea Colombo & Olivia D'Aoust & Olivier C. Sterck, 2014. "From Rebellion to Electoral Violence: Evidence from Burundi," CSAE Working Paper Series 2014-20, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    9. Ursula E. Daxecker & Brandon C. Prins, 2016. "The politicization of crime: electoral competition and the supply of maritime piracy in Indonesia," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 169(3), pages 375-393, December.
    10. Subhasish Chowdhury & Oliver Gürtler, 2015. "Sabotage in contests: a survey," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 164(1), pages 135-155, July.
    11. Hakeem Onapajo, 2014. "Violence and Votes in Nigeria: The Dominance of Incumbents in the Use of Violence to Rig Elections," Africa Spectrum, Institute of African Affairs, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 49(2), pages 27-51.
    12. Dmitriy Vorobyev, 2010. "Growth of Electoral Fraud in Non-Democracies: The Role of Uncertainty," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp420, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.

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