Rigging elections with violence


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.

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Correspondence to Ashish Chaturvedi.

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Chaturvedi, A. Rigging elections with violence. Public Choice 125, 189–202 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-005-3415-6

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  • Public Finance
  • Political Party
  • Substantial Fraction
  • Political Support
  • Political Competition