Skip to main content
×
×
Home

When Do Governments Resort to Election Violence?

  • Emilie M. Hafner-Burton, Susan D. Hyde and Ryan S. Jablonski
Abstract

When are governments most likely to use election violence, and what factors can mitigate government incentives to resort to violence? How do the dynamics of election violence differ in the pre- and post-election periods? The central argument of this article is that an incumbent's fear of losing power as the result of an election, as well as institutionalized constraints on the incumbent's decision-making powers, are pivotal in her decision to use election violence. While it may seem obvious to suggest that incumbents use election violence in an effort to fend off threats to their power, it is not obvious how to gauge these threats. Thus, a central objective of this article is to identify sources of information about the incumbent's popularity that can help predict the likelihood of election violence. The observable implications of this argument are tested using newly available cross-national evidence on elections, government use of pre- and post-election violence, and post-election protests from 1981 to 2004.

Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All
*

School of International Relations and Pacific Studies and Department of Political Science, University of California, San Diego (email: ehafner@ucsd.edu); Department of Political Science, Yale University (email: susan.hyde@yale.edu) and Department of Political Science, University of California, San Diego (email: rjablonski@ucsd.edu). Support for this research was provided by the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the University of California, San Diego, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. Replication data and an online appendix are available at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1017/S0007123412000671. For helpful comments, we would like to thank participants at workshops at the University of California at San Diego, George Washington University, Yale University and panel participants at the 2010 ISA annual meeting, as well as Jason Brownlee, Sarah Bush, Gary Cox, David Cingranelli, Daniela Donno, Christian Davenport, Thad Dunning, Christopher Fariss, Tom Flores, David Lake, Ellen Lust, Irfan Nooruddin, Philip Roeder, Ken Scheve and Susan Stokes. We also thank Sarah Knoesen, Michael Plouffe and Kristy Pathakis for valuable research assistance. Any errors or omissions are our own.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Amnesty International. 2001. Zimbabwe-Amnesty International Report.
Associated Press. 2007. Torture Fear for Mugabe Opponent. Australia: Herald Sun, 14 March.
Banks, Arthur S. 2005. Cross-National Time-Series Data Archive. Databanks International. Available from http://www.databanksinternational.com/, accessed 29 March 2009.
Banks, Arthur S. 1975. Cross-National Time-Series Data Archive: User's Manual, 1–2. Binghamton: Center for Comparative Political Research, State University of New York.
Beaulieu, Emily. 2006. Protesting the Contest: Election Boycotts Around the World, 1990–2002. PhD Dissertation. University of California, San Diego.
Blaydes, Lisa. 2010. Elections and Distributive Politics in Mubarak's Egypt. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Brownlee, Jason. 2009. Portents of Pluralism: How Hybrid Regimes Affect Democratic Transitions. American Journal of Political Science 53 (3):515532.
Bunce, Valerie J.Wolchik, Sharon L.. 2006. Favorable Conditions and Electoral Revolutions. Journal of Democracy 17 (4):518.
Bunce, Valerie J.Wolchik, Sharon L.. 2010. Defeating Dictators: Electoral Change and Stability in Competitive Authoritarian Regimes. World Politics 62 (1):4386.
Carey, Sabine C. 2006. The Dynamic Relationship Between Protest and Repression. Political Research Quarterly 59 (1):111.
Carey, Sabine C. 2010. The Use of Repression as a Response to Domestic Dissent. Political Studies 58 (1):167186.
Cingranelli, DavidFilippov, Mikhail. 2010. Electoral Rules and Incentives to Protect Human Rights. The Journal of Politics 72 (1):243257.
Cingranelli, David L., Richards, David L.. 2010. The Cingranelli-Richards (CIRI) Human Rights Dataset. Available from http://www.humanrightsdata.org, accessed 12 June 2009.
Collier, Paul. 2009. Wars, Guns, and Votes. New York: Harper.
Collier, PaulVicente, Pedro C.. 2012. Violence, Bribery, and Fraud: The Political Economy of Elections in Sub-Saharan Africa. Public Choice 153:117147.
Cox, Gary W. 2008. Authoritarian Elections and Leadership Succession, 1975–2000. San Diego: University of California.
Dahl, Robert A. 1971. Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Davenport, Christian. 1995. Multi-Dimensional Threat Perception and State Repression: An Inquiry into Why States Apply Negative Sanctions. American Journal of Political Science 39 (3):683713.
Davenport, Christian. 1997. From Ballots to Bullets: An Empirical Assessment of How National Elections Influence State uses of Political Repression. Electoral Studies 16 (4):517540.
Davenport, Christian. 1998. Liberalizing Event or Lethal Episode? An Empirical Assessment of How National Elections Affect the Suppression of Political and Civil Liberties. Social Science Quarterly 79 (2):321340.
Davenport, Christian. 2007. State Repression and Political Order. Annual Review of Political Science 10 (1):123.
Davis, David R., Ward, Michael D.. 1990. They Dance Alone. Journal of Conflict Resolution 34 (3):449475.
Diamond, Larry Jay. 2002. Thinking About Hybrid Regimes. Journal of Democracy 13 (2):2135.
Dunning, Thad. 2011. Fighting and Voting: Violent Conflict and Electoral Politics. Journal of Conflict Resolution 55 (3):327339.
Elkins, Zachary, Ginsburg, Tom, Melton, James. 2007. Comparative Constitutions Project: Informing the Science of Constitutional Design. Available from http://www.comparativeconstitutionsproject.org/data.htm, accessed 5 August 2009.
Fearon, James D. 2011. Self-Enforcing Democracy. The Quarterly Journal of Economics 126 (4):16611708.
Gandhi, JenniferPrzeworski, Adam. 2009. Holding onto Power by Any Means? The Origins of Competitive Elections. Atlanta, GA: Emory University.
Gartner, Scott SigmundRegan, Patrick M.. 1996. Threat and Repression: The Non-Linear Relationship between Government and Opposition Violence. Journal of Peace Research 33 (3):273287.
Geoghegan, Andrew. 2008. Tsvangirai Calls for International Intervention in Zimbabwe. Sydney: Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Goemans, Hein E., Gleditsch, Kristian S.Chiozza, Giacomo. 2009. Introducing Archigos: A Dataset of Political Leaders. Journal of Peace Research 46 (2):269283.
Gupta, Dipak K, Singh, HarinderSprague, Tom. 1993. Government Coercion of Dissidents. Journal of Conflict Resolution 37 (2):301339.
Hafner-Burton, Emilie M. 2005. Trading Human Rights: How Preferential Trade Agreements Influence Government Repression. International Organization 59 (3):593629.
Hafner-Burton, Emilie M. 2009. Forced to be Good: How Trade Agreements Boost Human Rights. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Hafner-Burton, Emilie M., Helfer, Laurence R.Fariss, Christopher J.. 2011. Emergency and Escape: Explaining Derogations from Human Rights Treaties. International Organization 65 (4):673707.
Hafner-Burton, Emilie M., Hyde, Susan D., Jablonski, Ryan S.. 2013. Surviving Elections: Election Violence and Leader Tenure. SSRN eLibrary. Available from http://ssrn.com/abstract=1975026, accessed 31 August 2012.
Henderson, Conway W. 1991. Conditions Affecting the Use of Political Repression. The Journal of Conflict Resolution 35 (1):120142.
Hoppen, K. Theodore. 1984. Elections, Politics, and Society in Ireland, 1832–1885. New York: Oxford University Press.
Howard, Marc M.Roessler, Philip G.. 2006. Liberalizing Electoral Outcomes in Competitive Authoritarian Regimes. American Journal of Political Science 50 (2):365381.
Howard, Rhoda E.Donnelly, Jack. 1986. Human Dignity, Human Rights, and Political Regimes. The American Political Science Review 80 (3):801817.
Human Rights Watch. 2010. Cambodia: Tribunal's First Step in Search for Justice. Available from http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/07/26/cambodia-tribunal-s-first-step-search-justice, accessed 3 August 2010.
Huntington, Samuel P. 1991. The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
Hyde, Susan D., Marinov, Nikolay. 2011. Codebook for National Elections Across Democracy and Autocracy. NELDA. Available from http://hyde.research.yale.edu/nelda/NELDA_codebook_2011.pdf, accessed 30 May 2012.
Hyde, Susan D.Marinov, Nikolay. 2012a. Which Elections Can Be Lost? Political Analysis 20 (2):191210.
Hyde, Susan D., Marinov, Nikolay. 2012b. Does Information Facilitate Self-Enforcing Democracy? The Role of International Election Observation. Available from http://ssrn.com/abstract=1266678, accessed 12 December 2012.
Inter-Parliamentary Union. 1993. Cambodia: Parliamentary Elections Constituent Assembly, 1993. Available from http://www.ipu.org/parline-e/reports/arc/2051_93.htm, accessed 21 July 2010.
Keyssar, Alexander. 2009. The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States, revised ed. New York: Basic Books.
King, Gary. 2001. Proper Nouns and Methodological Propriety: Pooling Dyads in International Relations Data. International Organization 55 (2):497507.
Krieger, Norma. 2000. Zimbabwe Today: Hope against Grim Realities. Review of African Political Economy 27 (85):443450.
Krieger, Norma. 2005. ZANU(PF) Strategies in General Elections, 1980–2000: Discourse and Coercion. African Affairs 104 (414):134.
Lehoucq, Fabrice. 2003. Electoral Fraud: Causes, Types, and Consequences. Annual Review of Political Science 6:233256.
Levitsky, StevenWay, Lucan. 2002. The Rise of Competitive Authoritarianism. Journal of Democracy 13 (2):5165.
Levitsky, StevenWay, Lucan. 2010. Competitive Authoritarianism: The Origins and Evolution of Hybrid Regimes in the Post-Cold War Era. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Lewis-Beck, Michael S. 1990. Economics and Elections: The Major Western Democracies. University of Michigan Press.
Lindberg, Staffan I. 2006a. Democracy and Elections in Africa. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Lindberg, Staffan I. 2006b. Tragic Protest: Why Do Opposition Parties Boycott Elections? In Electoral Authoritarianism: The Dynamics of Unfree Competition, edited by Andreas Schedler. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
Lindberg, Staffan I. ed. 2009. Democratization by Elections. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Lipset, Seymour Martin. 1983. Political Man: The Social Bases of Politics, 2nd ed.London: Heinemann.
Machado, Fabiana, Scartascini, CarlosTommasi, Mariano. 2011. Political Institutions and Street Protests in Latin America. Journal of Conflict Resolution 55 (3):340365.
Magaloni, Beatriz. 2006. Voting for Autocracy: Hegemonic Party Survival and Its Demise in Mexico. Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mainwaring, Scott, Brinks, DanielPerez-Linan, Anibal. 2001. Classifying Political Regimes in Latin America, 1945–1999. Studies in Comparative International Development 36 (1):3765.
Mallet, Victor. 2000. Mugabe Set for Poll Victory. London: Financial Times. June 27.
Marshall, Monty G. 2007. Major Episodes of Political Violence, 1946–2006. Center for Systemic Peace. Available from http://www.systemicpeace.org/warlist.htm, accessed 17 August 2009.
Marshall, Monty G., Jaggers, Keith. 2002. Polity IV Project: Political Regime Characteristics and Transitions, 1800–2002. Dataset Users’ Manual. Center for International Development and Conflict Management, College Park, University of Maryland.
Moore, Will H. 1998. Repression and Dissent: Substitution, Context, and Timing. American Journal of Political Science 42 (3):851873.
Moore, Will H. 2000. The Repression of Dissent. Journal of Conflict Resolution 44 (1):107127.
Neumayer, Eric. 2011. Do Governments Mean Business When They Derogate? Human Rights Violations During Notified States of Emergency. SSRN eLibrary. Available from http://ssrn.com/abstract=1654001, accessed 5 January 2010.
Nohlen, Dieter. ed. 2005. Elections in the Americas: A Data Handbook. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Nohlen, Dieter, Grotz, FlorianHartmann, Christof. eds. 2001. Elections in Asia and the Pacific: A Data Handbook. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Nohlen, Dieter, Michael, KrennerichThibaut, Bernhard. eds. 1999. Elections in Africa: A Data Handbook. New York: Oxford University Press.
Nolen, Stephanie. 2005. Do Shiny Boxes Make for a Fair Vote in Zimbabwe?; Behind the Appearance of an Orderly Election there was Evidence of Old-Style Intimidation. Toronto: The Globe and Mail. 1 April.
Osborn, Andrew. 2005. West Turns a Blind Eye as Activists Crushed Before Azerbaijan Poll. London: The Independent. 5 November.
OSCE/ODIHR. 2006. Republic of Azerbaijan Parliamentary Elections 6 November 2005: OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission Final Report. Warsaw: Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe: Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. Available from http://www.osce.org/documents/odihr/2006/02/17923_en.pdf, accessed 23 June 2008.
Poe, Steven C.Tate, C. Neal. 1994. Repression of Human Rights to Personal Integrity in the 1980s: A Global Analysis. The American Political Science Review 88 (4):853872.
Poe, Steven C., Tate, C. NealKeith, Linda Camp. 1999. Repression of the Human Right to Personal Integrity Revisited: A Global Cross-National Study Covering the Years 1976–1993. International Studies Quarterly 43 (2):291313.
Poe, Steven C., Tate, C. Neal, Keith, Linda CampLanier, Drew N.. 2000. Domestic Threats: The Abuse of Personal Integrity. In Paths to State Repression: Human Rights and Contentious Politics in Comparative Perspective, edited by Christian A. Davenport, 2770. Boulder, CO: Roman & Littlefield.
Przeworski, Adam. 1991. Democracy and the Market: Political and Economic Reforms in Eastern Europe and Latin America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Przeworski, Adam. 2006. Self-Enforcing Democracy. In The Oxford Handbook of Political Economy, edited by Barry R. Weingast and Donald A. Wittman, 312328. New York: Oxford University Press.
Raath, Jan. 2002. Chaos Fears as Mugabe Blocks Poll Observers. London: The Times, 7 March.
Richards, David L. 1999. Perilous Proxy: Human Rights and the Presence of National Elections. Social Science Quarterly 80 (4):648665.
Riker, William H. 1965. Democracy in the United States. New York: Macmillan.
Robinson, James A.Torvik, Ragnar. 2009. The Real Swing Voter's Curse. American Economic Review 99 (2):310315.
Roessler, Philip G.Howard, Marc M.. 2009. Post-Cold War Political Regimes: When Do Elections Matter? In Democratization by Elections, edited by Staffan I. Lindberg Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Schedler, Andreas. 2002. The Menu of Manipulation. Journal of Democracy 13 (2):3650.
Schlink, Leo. 2002. Murders in Mugabe Torture Camps, Paper Reports. Australia: Hobart Mercury. 4 March.
Seligson, Mitchell A.Booth, John A.. 1995. Elections and Democracy in Central America, Revisited. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Shenon, Philip. 1993. Cambodia Factions use Terror Tactics in Crucial Election. The New York Times, 10 May.
Simpser, Alberto. 2012. Why Parties and Governments Manipulate Elections: Theory, Practice, and Implications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sisk, Timothy D. 1995. Democratization in South Africa: The Elusive Social Contract. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Snyder, Jack L. 2000. From Voting to Violence: Democratization and Nationalist Conflict. New York: Norton.
Straus, ScottTaylor, Charlie. 2012. Democratization and Electoral Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1990–2008. In Voting in Fear, edited by Dorina A. Bekoe. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace.
Synovitz, Ron. 2009. Checkered Past of Iranian Opinion Polls Leaves Much In Doubt. Radio Free Europe.
The Economist. 2009. No Certain Outcome; Iran's Presidential Election. The Economist, 4 June.
Thornycroft Peta. 2005. Zimbabwe Voters Were Gripped by Terror Election Observers Condemn Mugabe Victory. London: The Daily Telegraph. 4 April.
Timberg, Craig, Mugari, Shakeman. 2008a. Zimbabwe's Opposition To Boycott Runoff Vote; Party's Executive Panel Unanimous in Its Belief 2nd Round Isn't Needed. The Washington Post, 11 April.
Tucker, Joshua. 2007. Enough! Electoral Fraud, Collective Action Problems, and Post-Communist Colored Revolutions. Perspectives on Politics 5 (3):535551.
U.S. Department of State. 1994. Cambodia Human Rights Practices, 1993. Available from http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/ERC/democracy/1993_hrp_report/93hrp_report_eap/Cambodia.html, accessed 19 January 2010.
U.S. Department of State. 2001. Zimbabwe Human Rights Practices, 2000. Available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2000/af/852.htm, accessed 19 January 2010.
U.S. Department of State. 2003. Zimbabwe Human Rights Practices 2002. Available from http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/18234.htm, accessed 13 June 2012.
U.S. Department of State. 2006a. Azerbaijan Human Rights Practices, 2005. Available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61637.htm, accessed 19 July 2010.
U.S. Department of State. 2006b. Zimbabwe Human Rights Practices 2005. Human Rights Report. Available from http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61600.htm, accessed 13 June 2012.
Valiyev, Anar M. 2006. Parliamentary Elections in Azerbaijan: A Failed Revolution. Problems of Post-Communism 53 (3):1735.
Weingast, Barry R. 1997. The Political Foundations of Democracy and the Rule of Law. American Political Science Review 91 (2):245263.
Wilkinson, Steven I. 2006. Votes and Violence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
World Bank. 2006. World Development Indicators. [CD-ROM].
Zakaria, Fareed. 1997. The Rise of Illiberal Democracy. Foreign Affairs 76 (6):2243.
Zanger, Sabine C. 2000. A Global Analysis of the Effect of Political Regime Changes on Life Integrity Violations, 1977–93. Journal of Peace Research 37 (2):213233.
Zeldin, Theodore. 1971. The Political System of Napoleon III. New York: W.W. Norton (New York: Macmillan 1958).
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
UNKNOWN
Supplementary materials

Hafner-Burton Supplementary Material
Hafner-Burton Supplementary Material data replication 1

 Unknown (2 KB)
2 KB
UNKNOWN
Supplementary materials

Hafner-Burton Supplementary Material
Hafner-Burton Supplementary Material data replication 2

 Unknown (297 KB)
297 KB
WORD
Supplementary materials

Hafner-Burton Supplementary Material
Appendix

 Word (490 KB)
490 KB
WORD
Supplementary materials

Hafner-Burton Supplementary Material
Supplementary Material

 Word (13 KB)
13 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 62
Total number of PDF views: 777 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 2275 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 16th August 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.