Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2074874
 
 

References (50)



 
 

Citations (1)



 


 



Elections and Political Instability: Ballots to Bullets, Voting to Violence?


Benjamin E. Goldsmith


University of Sydney

Charles Robert Butcher


National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago

Dimitri Semenovich


University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Arcot Sowmya


University of New South Wales (UNSW)

June 3, 2012


Abstract:     
Serious instability and deadly political violence have surrounded several recent elections and gained global media coverage. Do elections in general make such incidents more likely? Are elections especially dangerous in partially democratic or ethnically divided states? Elections are among the most common and well-studied of political events. Nevertheless the academic literature is divided on this topic. Our quantitative analysis suggests that elections are rarely dangerous, even when they occur in difficult political or ethnic contexts. On the contrary, we find that elections tend to decrease the chance of instability in states with high ethnic fractionalization. We argue that during election periods, high levels of ethnic fractionalization lower the expected payoffs for violent methods of political gain relative to the expected value of minority, opposition or coalition status. Elections, we posit, provide inducements that are particularly appealing to ethnic groups seeking limited power or autonomy within a state, while such limited gains through institutionalized mechanisms controlled by the state are also less threatening to incumbent governments or other ethnic groups in the society. We point to the importance of both our statistically significant and insignificant findings. We conclude by drawing out some theoretical and policy implications of the lack of evidence for a general effect for elections, and the apparently robust evidence for a pacifying effect in ethnically divided states.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 36

Keywords: elections, political instability, ethnic fractionalization

working papers series





Download This Paper

Date posted: June 4, 2012 ; Last revised: July 4, 2012

Suggested Citation

Goldsmith, Benjamin E. and Butcher, Charles Robert and Semenovich, Dimitri and Sowmya, Arcot, Elections and Political Instability: Ballots to Bullets, Voting to Violence? (June 3, 2012). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2074874 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2074874

Contact Information

Benjamin E. Goldsmith (Contact Author)
University of Sydney ( email )
University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
Charles Robert Butcher
National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago ( email )
520 Castle Street
Dunedin, NSW 9010
New Zealand
Dimitri Semenovich
University of New South Wales (UNSW) ( email )
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia
0293856532 (Phone)
Arcot Sowmya
University of New South Wales (UNSW) ( email )
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 523
Downloads: 105
Download Rank: 157,374
References:  50
Citations:  1

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo6 in 0.375 seconds