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Votes and Violence: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Nigeria

Author

Listed:
  • Paul Collier

    () (University of Oxford)

  • Pedro C. Vicente

    () (University of Oxford)

Abstract

Following the wave of democratization during the 1990s, elections are now common in low-income societies. However, these elections are frequently flawed. We investigate the Nigerian general election of 2007, which is to date the largest election held in Africa and one seriously marred by violence. We designed and conducted a nationwide field experiment based on randomized anti-violence grassroots campaigning. We find direct effects on violence outcomes from exploring both subject-surveying and independent data sources. Crucially, we establish that voter intimidation is effective in reducing voter turnout, and that the violence was systematically dissociated from incumbents. We suggest that incumbents have a comparative advantage in alternative strategies, vote buying and ballot fraud. Voter intimidation may be a strategy of the weak analogous to terrorism.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Collier & Pedro C. Vicente, 2008. "Votes and Violence: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Nigeria," HiCN Working Papers 50, Households in Conflict Network.
  • Handle: RePEc:hic:wpaper:50
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Violence; Conflict; Electoral Politics; Political Economy; Randomized Experiment; Field Experiment; Nigeria; West Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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