Hostname: page-component-797576ffbb-gvrqt Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-12-05T23:12:54.046Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

From Violence to Voting: War and Political Participation in Uganda

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 May 2009

CHRISTOPHER BLATTMAN*
Affiliation:
Yale University
*
Christopher Blattman is Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Yale University, 77 Prospect Street, P.O. Box 208209, New Haven, CT 06520-8209 (christopher.blattman@yale.edu).

Abstract

What is the political legacy of violent conflict? I present evidence for a link from past violence to increased political engagement among excombatants. The evidence comes from northern Uganda, where rebel recruitment generated quasiexperimental variation in who was conscripted by abduction. Survey data suggest that abduction leads to substantial increases in voting and community leadership, largely due to elevated levels of violence witnessed. Meanwhile, abduction and violence do not appear to affect nonpolitical participation. These patterns are not easily explained by conventional theories of participation, including mobilization by elites, differential costs, and altruistic preferences. Qualitative interviews suggest that violence may lead to personal growth and political activation, a possibility supported by psychological research on the positive effects of traumatic events. Although the generalizability of these results requires more evidence to judge, the findings challenge our understanding of political behavior and point to important new avenues of research.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2009

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

REFERENCES

Allen, Tim. 2005. “War and Justice in Northern Uganda: An Assessment of the International Criminal Court's Intervention.” London: Crisis States Research Centre, Development Studies Institute, London School of Economics.Google Scholar
Allen, Tim, and Vlassenroot, Koen. 2008. “Introduction.” In The Lord's Resistance Army: War, Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Uganda, eds. Allen, Tim and Vlassenroot, Koen. London School of Economics and Political Science. Typescript.Google Scholar
Annan, Jeannie, Blattman, Christopher, and Horton, Roger. 2006. “The State of Youth and Youth Protection in Northern Uganda: Findings from the Survey of War Affected Youth.” Kampala, Uganda: UNICEF.Google Scholar
Annan, Jeannie, Brier, Moriah, and Aryemo, Filder. 2008. “From ‘Rebel’ to ‘Returnee’: Daily Life and Reintegration for Youth in Northern Uganda.” Yale University. Unpublished working paper.Google Scholar
Baines, Erin. 2005. “Restoring Relationships in Acholi-Land: Traditional Approaches to Justice and Reintegration.” Vancouver, Canada: Liu Institute.Google Scholar
BBC. 2007. “Child Soldiers ‘Are a Time Bomb’.” BBC News, February 5.Google Scholar
Beber, Bernd, and Blattman, Christopher. 2008. “The Industrial Organization of Rebellion: The Logic of Forced Labor and Child Soldiering.” Yale University Unpublished working paper.Google Scholar
Behrend, Heike. 1999. Alice Lakwena & Holy Spirits: War In Northern Uganda 1985–97. Columbus: Ohio University Press.Google Scholar
Bellows, John, and Miguel, Edward. 2006. “War and Institutions: New Evidence from Sierra Leone.” American Economic Association, Papers and Proceedings 96 (2): 394–9.Google Scholar
Bellows, John, and Miguel, Edward. 2008. “War and Local Collective Action in Sierra Leone.” Berkeley: UC Berkeley.Google Scholar
Blais, André, and Dobrzynska, Agnieszka. 1998. “Turnout in Electoral Democracies.” European Journal of Political Research 33 (2): 239–62.Google Scholar
Blattman, Christopher, and Annan, Jeannie. N.d. “The Consequences of Child Soldiering.” Review of Economics and Statistics. Forthcoming.Google Scholar
Blattman, Christopher, and Annan, Jeannie. 2008. “On the Nature and Causes of LRA Abduction: What the Abductees Say.” In The Lord's Resistance Army: War, Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Uganda, eds. Allen, Tim and Vlassenroot, Koen. London School of Economics and Political Science. Typescript.Google Scholar
Blattman, Christopher, and Miguel, Edward. N.d. “Civil War.” Journal of Economic Literature. Forthcoming.Google Scholar
Bøås, Morten, and Hatløy, Anne. 2006. “After the ‘Storm’: Economic Activities among Returning Youths. The Case of Voinjama.” Norway: Fafo Report.Google Scholar
Branch, Adam. 2008. “Exploring the roots of LRA Violence: Political Crisis and Politicized Ethnicity in Acholiland.” In The Lord's Resistance Army: War, Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Uganda, eds. Allen, Tim and Vlassenroot, Koen. London School of Economics and Political Science. Typescript.Google Scholar
Carmil, Devora, and Breznitz, Shlomo. 1990. “Personal Trauma and World View—Are Extremely Stressful Experiences Related to Political Attitudes, Religious Beliefs, and Future Orientation?Journal of Traumatic Stress 4 (3): 393405.Google Scholar
Christensen, Maya M., and Utas, Mats. 2008. “Mercenaries of Democracy: the ‘Politricks’ of Remobilized Combatants in the 2007 General Elections, Sierra Leone.” African Affairs (London) adn057.Google Scholar
Cohn, Irene, and Goodwin-Gill, Guy S.. 1994. Child Soldiers: The Role of Children in Armed Conflict. Oxford: Institut Henry-Dunant, Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Collier, Paul. 2007. The Bottom Billion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Collier, Paul, Elliot, V. L., Hegre, Håvard, Hoeffler, Anke, Reynal-Querol, Marta, and Sambanis, Nicholas. 2003. Breaking the Conflict Trap: Civil War and Development Policy. Washington, DC: World Bank and Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Doom, R., and Vlassenroot, K.. 1999. “Kony's Message: A New Koine? The Lord's Resistance Army in Northern Uganda.” African Affairs 98 (390): 5.Google Scholar
Downs, Anthony. 1957. An Economic Theory of Democracy. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
Editorial. 2006. “Armies of Children.” New York Times, October 12.Google Scholar
Edlin, Aaron, Gelman, Andrew, and Kaplan, Noah. 2007. “Voting as a Rational Choice: Why and How People Vote to Improve the Well-Being of Others.” Rationality and Society 19 (3): 293314.Google Scholar
Elder, Glen H., and Clipp, Elizabeth Colerick. 1989. “Combat Experience and Emotional Health: Impairment and Resilience in Later Life.” Journal of Personality 57 (2): 311–41.Google Scholar
Emmons, Robert A., Colby, Patricia M., and Kaiser, Heather A.. 1998. “When Losses Lead to Gains: Personal Goals and the Recovery of Meaning.” In The Human Quest for Meaning: A Handbook of Psychological Research and Clinical Applications, eds. Wong, P. T. P. and Fry, P. S.. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
Feddersen, Timothy J. 2004. “Rational Choice Theory and the Paradox of Not Voting.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 18 (1): 99112.Google Scholar
Feddersen, Timothy J., and Pesendorfer, Wolfgang. 1999. “Abstention in Elections with Asymmetric Information and Diverse Preferences.” American Political Science Review 93 (2): 381–98.Google Scholar
Feddersen, Timothy J., and Sandroni, Alvaro. 2002. “A Theory of Participation in Elections.” American Economic Review 96 (4): 1271–82.Google Scholar
Finnström, Sverker. 2008a. “An African Hell of Colonial Imagination? The Lord's Resistance Army/Movement in Uganda, Another Story.” In The Lord's Resistance Army: War, Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Uganda, eds. Allen, Tim and Vlassenroot, Koen. London School of Economics and Political Science. Typescript.Google Scholar
Finnström, Sverker. 2008b. Living With Bad Surroundings: War and Existential Uncertainty in Acholiland, Northern Uganda. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
Fiorina, Morris P. 1976. “The Voting Decision: Instrumental and Expressive Aspects.” Journal of Politics 38 (2): 390413.Google Scholar
Fitzgerald, John, Gottschalk, Peter, and Moffitt, Robert. 1998. “An Analysis of Sample Attrition in Panel Data: The Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics.” Journal of Human Resources 33 (2): 251–99.Google Scholar
Gerber, Alan S., and Green, Don P.. 2000. “The Effects of Canvassing, Telephone Calls, and Direct Mail on Voter Turnout: A Field Experiment.” American Political Science Review 94 (3): 653–63.Google Scholar
Government of Uganda. 2007. “National Peace, Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda: 2006–2009.” Kampala, Uganda: Government of Uganda.Google Scholar
Green, Donald P., and Gerber, Alan S.. 2004. Get out the Vote! Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
Haidt, Jonathan. 2006. The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
Hamory, Joan, and Miguel, Edward. 2006. “Attrition and Migration in the Kenya Life Panel Survey.” Berkeley: UC Berkeley.Google Scholar
Harlacher, Thomas, Xavier Okot, Francis, Obonyo, Caroline Aloyo, Balthazard, Mychelle, and Atkinson, Ronald. 2006. Traditional Ways of Coping in Acholi: Cultural Provisions for Reconciliation and Healing from War. Kampala, Uganda: Intersoft Business Services Ltd.Google Scholar
Harsanyi, John. 1977. “Morality and the Theory of Rational Behavior.” Social Research 44 (4): 623–56.Google Scholar
Harsanyi, John. 1992. “Game and Decision Theoretic Models in Ethics.” In The Handbook of Game Theory, Volume 1, ed. Hart, R. A. a. S.. Amsterdam: Elsevier, North Holland.Google Scholar
Hirano, Keisuke, Imbens, Guido W., and Ridder, Geert. 2003. “Efficient Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Using the Estimated Propensity Score.” Econometrica 71 (4): 1161–89.Google Scholar
Honwana, Alcinda. 2005. Child Soldiers in Africa. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
Humphreys, Macartan, and Weinstein, Jeremy M.. 2008. “Who Fights? The Determinants of Participation in Civil War.” American Journal of Political Science 52 (2): 436–55.Google Scholar
IFES. IFES Election Guide 2007. www.electionguide.org/results.php?ID=969. (May 8, 2007).Google Scholar
Imbens, Guido W. 2003. “Sensitivity to Exogeneity Assumptions in Program Evaluation.” American Economic Review 93 (2): 126–32.Google Scholar
King, Lynda A., King, Daniel W., Fairbank, John A., Keane, Terence M., and Adams, Gary A.. 1998. “Resilience-Recovery Factors in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among Female and Male Vietnam Veterans: Hardiness, Postwar Social Support, and Additional Stressful Life Events.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 74 (2): 420–34.Google Scholar
Lamwaka, Caroline. 2002. “The Peace Process in Northern Uganda 19861990.” In Protracted Conflict, Elusive Peace: Initiatives to End the Violence in Northern Uganda, ed. Lucima, O.. London: Conciliation Resources and Kacoke Madit.Google Scholar
Laufer, Avital, and Solomon, Zahava. 2006. “Posttraumatic Symptoms and Posttraumatic Growth Among Israeli Youth Exposed to Terror Incidents.” Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 25 (4): 429–47.Google Scholar
Lee, David S., 2005. “Training, Wages, and Sample Selection: Estimating Sharp Bounds on Treatment Effects.” In NBER Working Paper #11721. Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
Loughry, M., and MacMullin, C.. 2002. “An Investigation into the Psychosocial Adjustment of Formerly Abducted Child Soldiers in Northern Uganda.” Kampala, Uganda: The International Rescue Committee.Google Scholar
Lucima, Okelo, ed. 2002. “Protracted Conflict, Elusive Peace: Initiatives to End the Violence in Northern Uganda.” Accord 11.Google Scholar
Luthar, S. S., Cicchetti, D. D., and Becker, B. B.. 2000. “The Construct of Resilience: A Critical Evaluation and Guidelines for Future Work.” Child Development 71 (3): 543–62.Google Scholar
Manski, Charles F. 1990. “Nonparametric Bounds on Treatment Effects.” American Economic Review 80 (2): 319–23.Google Scholar
Masten, A. S. 2001. “Ordinary Magic: Resilience Processes in Development.” American Psychologist 56 (3): 227–38.Google Scholar
Mwenda, Andrew. 2008. “Uganda's Politics of Foreign Aid and Violent Conflict: The Political Uses of the LRA Rebellion.” In The Lord's Resistance Army: War, Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Uganda, eds. Allen, Tim and Vlassenroot, Koen. London School of Economics and Political Science. Typescript.Google Scholar
Nolen-Hoeksema, Susan, and Davis, Christopher G.. 2002. “Positive Responses to Loss: Perceiving Benefits and Growth.” In Handbook of Positive Psychology, eds. Snyder, C. R. and Lopez, S. J.. New York: Oxford University Press, 598607.Google Scholar
Omara-Otunnu, Amii. 1994. Politics and the Military in Uganda, 1890–1985. London: Macmillan, in association with St. Antony's College, Oxford.Google Scholar
Pham, Phuong, Vinck, Patrick, and Stover, Eric. 2007. “Abducted: The Lord's Resistance Army and Forced Conscription in Northern Uganda.” Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley; Payson Center for International Development, Tulane University.Google Scholar
Powell, Steve, Rosner, Rita, Butollo, Willi, Tedeschi, Richard G., and Calhoun, Lawrence G.. 2003. “Posttraumatic Growth After War: A Study with Former Refugees and Displaced People in Sarajevo.” Journal of Clinical Psychology 59 (1): 7183.Google Scholar
Richards, Paul, Archibald, Steven, Bah, Khadija, and Vincent, James. 2003. “Where Have All the Young People Gone? Transitioning Ex-Combatants Toward Community Reconstruction After the War in Sierra Leone.” Unpublished report. London: School of Oriental and African Studies.Google Scholar
Riker, William H., and Ordeshook, Peter C.. 1968. “A Theory of the Calculus of Voting.” American Political Science Review 62 (1): 2542.Google Scholar
Rosenbaum, Paul R., and Rubin, Donald B.. 1983. “Assessing Sensitivity to an Unobserved Binary Covariate in an Observational Study with Binary Outcome.” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series B (Methodological) 45 (2): 212–18.Google Scholar
Rubin, Donald B. 1978. “Bayesian Inference for Causal Effects: The Role of Randomization.” Annals of Statistics 6 (1): 3458.Google Scholar
Schomerus, Mareike. 2008. “Chasing the Kony Story.” In The Lord's Resistance Army: War, Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Uganda, eds. Allen, Tim and Vlassenroot, Koen. London School of Economics and Political Science. Typescript.Google Scholar
Shachar, Ron, and Nalebuff, Barry. 1999. “Follow the Leader: Theory and Evidence on Political Participation.” American Economic Review 89 (3): 525–47.Google Scholar
Shewfelt, Steven. 2009. “Legacies of War: Social and Political Life after Conflict.” Unpublished Ph.D. diss. Yale University Department of Political Science.Google Scholar
Sledge, W. H., Boydstun, J. A., and Rabe, A. J.. 1980. “Self-Concept Changes Related to War Captivity.” Archives of General Psychiatry 37 (4): 430–43.Google Scholar
Snyder, Jack L. 2000. From Voting to Violence: Democratization and Nationalist Conflict, W. W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
Spear, Joanna. 2006. “Disarmament, Demobilization, Reinsertion and Reintegration in Africa.” In Ending Africa's Wars: Progressing to Peace, ed. May, O. F. a. R.. London: Ashgate.Google Scholar
Tedeschi, Richard G., and Calhoun, Lawrence G.. 1996. “The Posttraumatic Growth Inventory.” Journal of Traumatic Stress 9: 455–71.Google Scholar
Tedeschi, Richard G., and Calhoun, Lawrence G.. 2004. “Posttraumatic Growth: Conceptual Foundations and Empirical Evidence.” Psychological Inquiry 15 (1): 118.Google Scholar
Tennen, Howard, and Affleck, Glenn, eds. 1998. Personality and Transformation in the Face of Adversity, eds. Tedeschi, R. G., Park, C. L., and Calhoun, L. G.. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
Thomas, Duncan, Frankenberg, Elizabeth, and Smith, James P.. 2001. “Lost But Not Forgotten: Attrition and Follow-Up in the Indonesia Family Life Survey.” Journal of Human Resources 36 (3): 556–92.Google Scholar
Titeca, Kristof. 2008. “The Spiritual Order of the LRA.” In The Lord's Resistance Army: War, Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Uganda, eds. Allen, Tim and Vlassenroot, Koen. London School of Economics and Political Science. Typescript.Google Scholar
Uhlaner, Carole J. 1989. “Rational Turnout: The Neglected Role of Groups.” American Journal of Political Science 33 (2): 390422.Google Scholar
Utas, Mats. 2003. Sweet Battlefields: Youth and the Liberian Civil War. Uppsala, Sweden: Uppsala University Dissertations in Cultural Anthropology.Google Scholar
Veale, Angela, and Stavrou, Aki. 2007. “Former Lord's Resistance Army Child Soldier Abductees: Explorations of Identity in Reintegration and Reconciliation.” Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology 13 (3): 273–92.Google Scholar
Weinstein, Jeremy M. 2007. Inside Rebellion. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Wessells, Michael. 2006. Child Soldiers: From Violence to Protection. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Wilkinson, Steven I. 2004. Votes and Violence: Electoral Competition and Ethnic Riots in India. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Williamson, John 2006. “The Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of Child Soldiers: Social and Psychological Transformation in Sierra Leone.” Intervention 4 (3): 185205.Google Scholar
Wood, Elisabeth J. 2003. Insurgent Collective Action and Civil War in El Salvador. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar