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Beaten ballots: political participation dynamics amidst police interventions

Toni Rodon and Marc Guinjoan

Political Science Research and Methods, 2022, vol. 10, issue 1, 153-170

Abstract: What is the effect of violence on political mobilization? Taking the repression-mobilization nexus debate as a starting point, we study the effects of police interventions on political participation, focusing on the Spanish police crackdown on Catalonia's independence referendum on 1 October 2017. We analyze the effect of police actions on turnout using detailed aggregate data, as well as a survey conducted a few days after the referendum. The two empirical approaches show that police interventions had both deterrent and inverse spatial spillover effects. Although police raids had a local negative impact on turnout, they induced positive spillover effects in the surrounding areas. Our findings also indicate heterogeneity in the spatial dynamics, with police actions encouraging people to go to vote in nearby areas, but also mobilizing residents in neighboring areas to participate, especially those individuals with fewer incentives to turn out to vote.

Date: 2022
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