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
Date Written: July 15, 2016
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
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