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Voting as a Credible Threat

Author

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  • Londregan, John

    (Princeton U)

  • Vindigni, Andrea

Abstract

We offer a rationale for elections that take place in the shadow of power. Factions unhappy with policy can threaten violence. But when they lack common knowledge about (i) one another's rationality, and(ii) their chances of victory at arms, then mutual overconfidence can precipitate civil war. We argue that elections can clarify the likely consequences of violence, and so facilitate peaceful resolution. Our theory is based on the recognition that both voting and fighting are intrinsically correlated actions: individuals who undertake the individually irrational act of voting are unusually prone the individually irrational act of voluntary combat.

Suggested Citation

  • Londregan, John & Vindigni, Andrea, 2006. "Voting as a Credible Threat," Papers 10-04-2006, Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:prirpe:10-04-2006
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    File URL: http://weblamp.princeton.edu/rppe/files/londvind.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. 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.
    4. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2003. "Cowards and Heroes: Group Loyalty in the American Civil War," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 519-548.
    5. Joshua D. Angrist, 1998. "Estimating the Labor Market Impact of Voluntary Military Service Using Social Security Data on Military Applicants," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(2), pages 249-288, March.
    6. James D. Fearon, 2011. "Self-Enforcing Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1661-1708.
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:88:y:1994:i:03:p:577-592_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:cup:apsrev:v:62:y:1968:i:01:p:25-42_11 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Chamberlain, Gary & Rothschild, Michael, 1981. "A note on the probability of casting a decisive vote," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 152-162, August.
    10. Yoram Barzel & Eugene Silberberg, 1973. "Is the act of voting rational?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 51-58, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hugh-Jones, David & Reinstein, David, 2012. "Anonymous rituals," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 478-489.
    2. Reinstein, David & Hugh-Jones, David, 2010. "The Benefit of Anonymity in Public Goods Games," Economics Discussion Papers 2933, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    3. Egorov, Georgy & Sonin, Konstantin, 2014. "Incumbency Advantage in Non-Democracies," CEPR Discussion Papers 10178, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. repec:esx:essedp:750 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Hugh-Jones, David & Reinstein, David, 2014. "Exclude the Bad Actors or Learn About The Group," Economics Discussion Papers 10010, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    6. Aditya Bhave & Christopher Kingston, 2010. "Military coups and the consequences of durable de facto power: the case of Pakistan," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 51-76, February.

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