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

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Pedro C. Vicente.

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Collier, P., Vicente, P.C. Violence, bribery, and fraud: the political economy of elections in Sub-Saharan Africa. Public Choice 153, 117–147 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-011-9777-z

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Keywords

  • Violence
  • Fraud
  • Vote-buying
  • Electoral politics
  • Political economy
  • Sub-Saharan Africa

JEL Classification

  • D72
  • O55
  • P16