Elections, Ethnicity and Political Instability

Charles Butcher and Benjamin E. Goldsmith. "Elections, Ethnicity, and Political Instability", Comparative Political Studies, Forthcoming

39 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2016

See all articles by Charles Robert Butcher

Charles Robert Butcher

National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago

Benjamin E. Goldsmith

School of Politics & International Relations - Australian National University

Date Written: July 15, 2016

Abstract

This article provides a new perspective on the impact of elections on violent political instability in ethnically divided states. A number of scholars argue that elections may provoke large-scale violence in ethnically divided states. In this article we theorize that elections have a pacifying effect in the most ethnically fractionalized countries as they reduce endemic uncertainty and encourage coalition-building, lowering the rate at which electoral losers discount the future. Probit regressions using cross-national data for the period 1960-2010 support the notion that instability onsets are less likely in ethnically fractionalized states during election periods, and especially in the year after a national election.

Keywords: Elections, Political instability, Ethnic fractionalization, Ethnic polarization, Civil war, Coups d'etat, Mass killing

Suggested Citation

Butcher, Charles Robert and Goldsmith, Benjamin E., Elections, Ethnicity and Political Instability (July 15, 2016). Charles Butcher and Benjamin E. Goldsmith. "Elections, Ethnicity, and Political Instability", Comparative Political Studies, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2818924

Charles Robert Butcher

National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago ( email )

520 Castle Street
Dunedin, NSW 9010
New Zealand

Benjamin E. Goldsmith (Contact Author)

School of Politics & International Relations - Australian National University ( email )

Canberra
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://researchers.anu.edu.au/researchers/goldsmith-b

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