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Fighting and Voting: Violent Conflict and Electoral Politics


  • Thad Dunning

    (Department of Political Science, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA,


Two recent research programs—one on the sources of democratic consolidation and another on the causes and consequences of violent conflict—have tended to evolve in relative isolation. The contributions to this special issue of Journal of Conflict Resolution help to bridge this gap, through explicit theoretical and empirical analysis of the relationship between fighting and voting. Armed conflict and electoral politics may be strategic substitutes, in that political actors may optimally choose to submit to the ballot box or instead attempt to impose their will by force; or they may be strategic complements, in that actors use violence to bolster their electoral aims, or use electoral returns as sources of information on underlying preferences that they exploit in armed campaigns. In either case, the distribution of popular support for contending parties can shape not only the incidence but also the type of armed conflict, and it can also influence the incentives of parties to invest in institutional mechanisms that mitigate commitment problems and help to bring violent conflicts to an end. The contributions to this issue illuminate these themes and demonstrate the value of bringing these separate research programs into closer dialogue.

Suggested Citation

  • Thad Dunning, 2011. "Fighting and Voting: Violent Conflict and Electoral Politics," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 55(3), pages 327-339, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jocore:v:55:y:2011:i:3:p:327-339

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Stadelmann, David & Portmann, Marco & Eichenberger, Reiner, 2015. "Military careers of politicians matter for national security policy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 142-156.
    3. Grandi, Francesca, 2013. "New incentives and old organizations: The production of violence after war," NEPS Working Papers 2/2013, Network of European Peace Scientists.
    4. Roxana Gutiérrez-Romero, 2012. "An Inquiry into the Use of Illegal Electoral Practices and Effects of Political Violence," Working Papers wpdea1210, Department of Applied Economics at Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona.
    5. Konyukhovskiy, Pavel V. & Grigoriadis, Theocharis, 2018. "Proxy wars," Discussion Papers 2018/4, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    6. Mary Kaldor, 2016. "How Peace Agreements Undermine the Rule of Law in New War Settings," Global Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 7(2), pages 146-155, May.
    7. Grandi Francesca, 2013. "New Incentives and Old Organizations: The Production of Violence After War," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 19(3), pages 309-319, December.
    8. Jorge Gallego, 2016. "Civil Conflict and Voting Behavior: Evidence," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 015162, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
    9. Yegor Lazarev, 2013. "Land, Votes, and Violence: Political Effects of the Insecure Property Rights over Land in Dagestan," HSE Working papers WP BRP 01/SOC/2013, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    10. Federico Traversa, 2015. "Income and the stability of democracy: Pushing beyond the borders of logic to explain a strong correlation?," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 121-136, June.


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