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Voting in the Shadow of Violence: Electoral Politics and Conflict in Peru


Why do some insurgent groups with associated electoral parties target civilians despite the costs of doing so? Organizations with peaceful electoral wings and violent factions operating at the same time are common in contemporary democracies. One of the more consistent observations in the literature is that insurgent targeting of civilians is costly to their electoral counterpart, and insurgents are aware of this cost. Yet, many insurgent groups continue to target civilians. In this article, we suggest a localized effect of violence on electoral outcomes of parties with ties to violent groups offers an explanation for why such insurgent groups might continue to perpetrate violence. Specifically, we suggest insurgent benefits, measured as electoral costs to the incumbent for failure in stemming the violence, likely outweigh the localized electoral costs to insurgent-affiliated parties from the violence. Our subnational analysis of violence and electoral results across Peruvian provinces strongly supports our story.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Birnir, Johanna K. and Anita Gohdes. 2018. "Voting in the Shadow of Violence: Electoral Politics and Conflict in Peru." Journal of Global Security Studies 3 (April): 181-197. https://academic.oup.com/jogss/article/3/2/181/4964795

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