Do Elections Incite Violence?
Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB)
Center for Public Policy, IIM Bangalore
July 6, 2005
This paper examines the relationship between democratic institutions and domestic crime. We model the motivation for inciting crime in a two party setting and show that investment in conictual campaigning is higher in economies characterized by weak institutions. We then test this prediction on a panel of forty five countries over a period of seven years. Using elections as a defning feature of democracies and controlling for social and economic determinants of crime, we explore whether crime (measured by murders per hundred thousand people) goes up during election as compared to non-election years. We show that the relationship between crime and elections is positive and signinificant in less developed countries while there is no evidence of such a relationship in the developed countries. We also examine the impact of political systems (presidential versus parliamentary) and voting rules (proportional versus plurality systems) on the incidence of domestic crime rates. Our results show that these differences do not have a statistically significant impact on the incidence of crime during elections.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 30
Keywords: democracy, conflictual campaigning, panel data, cross country regression
JEL Classification: D72, C23
Date posted: November 4, 2005