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Rigging elections with violence

  • Ashish Chaturvedi

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    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

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-005-3415-6
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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

    Volume (Year): 125 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 1 (July)
    Pages: 189-202

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:125:y:2005:i:1:p:189-202
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

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    1. 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, 07.
    2. Konrad, Kai A, 2000. "Sabotage in Rent-Seeking Contests," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 155-65, April.
    3. Skaperdas, Stergios, 1996. "Contest Success Functions," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 283-90, February.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Daniel Sutter, 2003. "Detecting and Correcting Election Fraud," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 433-451, Summer.
    7. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
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