Dangerously informed: Voter information and pre-electoral violence in Africa
Inken von Borzyskowski and
Patrick M Kuhn
Additional contact information
Inken von Borzyskowski: Department of Political Science, University College London
Patrick M Kuhn: School of Government & International Affairs, Durham University
Journal of Peace Research, 2020, vol. 57, issue 1, 15-29
A considerable literature examines the effect of voter information on candidate strategies and voterâ€“politician interactions in the developing world. The voter information literature argues that information can improve accountability because more informed voters are harder to woo with traditional campaign tools, such as ethnic appeals and vote-buying. However, this literature has largely ignored the reaction of political candidates and thus may reach conclusions that are overly optimistic regarding the impact of information on electoral accountability. We argue that voter information can increase electoral violence in developing countries where politicians face fewer institutional constraints on their campaign tactics. When violence is used as a campaign strategy, more informed electorates are more at risk because they are harder to sway through alternative campaign techniques. Using data from 35 African countries, we show that respondents receiving their news predominantly from newspapers are a good proxy for informed voters because they differ in terms of their political attitudes from respondents consuming no news or receiving it via other channels. Combining the geo-coded survey data with pre-electoral violence event data, we find a robust positive association between newspaper readership and fear of and exposure to campaign violence. This finding contributes to the micro-foundations of election violence and adds a cautionary note for voter information programs.
Keywords: Africa; campaigns; election violence; elections; information (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (5) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:sae:joupea:v:57:y:2020:i:1:p:15-29
Access Statistics for this article
More articles in Journal of Peace Research from Peace Research Institute Oslo
Bibliographic data for series maintained by SAGE Publications ().