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Political Openness and Armed Conflict: Evidence from Local Councils in Colombia

Hector Galindo-Silva

Papers from arXiv.org

Abstract: In this paper, I empirically investigate how the openness of political institutions to diverse representation can impact conflict-related violence. By exploiting plausibly exogenous variations in the number of councillors in Colombian municipalities, I develop two sets of results. First, regression discontinuity estimates show that larger municipal councils have a considerably greater number of political parties with at least one elected representative. I interpret this result as evidence that larger municipal councils are more open to diverse political participation. The estimates also reveal that non-traditional parties are the main beneficiaries of this greater political openness. Second, regression discontinuity estimates show that political openness substantially decreases conflict-related violence, namely the killing of civilian non-combatants. By exploiting plausibly exogenous variations in local election results, I show that the lower level of political violence stems from greater participation by parties with close links to armed groups. Using data about the types of violence employed by these groups, and representation at higher levels of government, I argue that armed violence has decreased not because of power-sharing arrangements involving armed groups linked to the parties with more political representation, but rather because armed groups with less political power and visibility are deterred from initiating certain types of violence.

Date: 2019-10, Revised 2020-08
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http://arxiv.org/pdf/1910.03712 Latest version (application/pdf)

Related works:
Working Paper: Political Openness and Armed Conflict: Evidence from Local Councils in Colombia (2018) Downloads
Working Paper: Political Openness and Armed Conflict: Evidence from Local Councils in Colombia (2018) Downloads
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