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Violence, bribery, and fraud: the political economy of elections in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Paul Collier


  • Pedro Vicente


Post-Soviet African democratization has introduced elections into contexts that often lack restraints upon the behavior of candidates, resulting in the emergence of voter intimidation, vote-buying, and ballot fraud. We propose a model of electoral competition where, although some voters oppose violence, it is effective in intimidating swing voters. We show that in equilibrium a weak challenger will use violence, which corresponds to a terrorism strategy. Similarly, a nationally weak incumbent will use repression. However, a stronger incumbent facing local competition will prefer to use bribery or ballot fraud. We discuss the applicability of the model to several African elections. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 153 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: 117-147

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:153:y:2012:i:1:p:117-147
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