Do Elections Incite Violence?

30 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2005

See all articles by Ashish Chaturvedi

Ashish Chaturvedi

Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB)

Arnab Mukherji

Center for Public Policy, IIM Bangalore

Date Written: 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 con‡ictual 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.

Keywords: democracy, conflictual campaigning, panel data, cross country regression

JEL Classification: D72, C23

Suggested Citation

Chaturvedi, Ashish and Mukherji, Arnab, Do Elections Incite Violence? (July 6, 2005). Available at SSRN: or

Ashish Chaturvedi (Contact Author)

Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) ( email )

Reichpietschufer 50
D-10785 Berlin

Arnab Mukherji

Center for Public Policy, IIM Bangalore ( email )

Bannerghata Road
Bangalore, Karnataka 560076


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