“When Do Voters Sanction Violence? A Vignette Experiment in Kenya”
Next Wednesday, May 13th, at 2.00pm, the NOVAFRICA Center welcomes Roxana Gutiérrez Romero, from the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona to present her work on electoral violence, and voter sanctions.
Roxana Gutiérrez Romero and Adrienne LeBas
Electoral violence has become a persistent feature of elections in many of today’s democratizing or “hybrid” regimes. An emerging literature explains this phenomenon from the perspective of elites: electoral violence is a useful strategy for incumbents who are either unsure of their support or facing increasingly competitive challengers. But do voters find these strategies palatable, and, if so, why? Under what conditions might voters sanction politicians who use violence in order to win office? In order to examine these questions, we employ a survey-embedded vignette experiment in Kenya, where violence and large-scale displacement have been common during elections since 1992. This paper suggests that ethnicity and partisanship are powerful heuristics on which voters rely, but individuals still tend to sanction violent politicians regardless of the candidate’s ethnicity and partisan affiliation. We find evidence that reported good past performance in office leads to discounting reported violence among poor respondents and those who had been victims of electoral violence. However, other respondents sanction violent but high-performing candidates at roughly the same rate as other violent politicians.
For further information see here.