Authoritarian elections, electoral integrity, and political violence

19 March 2013

Associate Professor Ben Goldsmith will discuss his research on the topic 'Authoritarian elections, electoral integrity, and political violence'. The paper presents some preliminary statistical analyses of electoral integrity and political violence. The logical pivot of the competing expectations is that, while unfree and manipulated elections might help avoid violence because they help incumbents maintain power, they might also lead to violence because they disenfranchise the opposition.

Conversely, free and fair elections threaten incumbents, which might lead to their use of violence against the opposition, while they advantage the opposition by providing the possibility of genuine access to power, thus reducing their temptation to use violence. The results suggest that electoral malpractice in non-democratic regimes is associated with less violence. Theoretically, Goldsmith will argue, this points to a general model of such elections in which the degree of threat to the incumbent's hold on power is the main factor in sparking electoral violence. The conditions under which such a relationship might be relevant, provided it holds up to further scrutiny, are of particular interest for Goldsmith's continuing research.

This lecture is part of The Electoral Integrity Project's weekly lunchtime research seminar series. Australian Research Council laureate Professor Pippa Norris heads this multi-year project based in the Department of Government and International Relations.

Time: 11.45am - 1.30pm

Location: Room 276, Merewether Building,

Cost: Free

Contact: Dr Ferran Martinez i Coma

Phone: 9351 2147

Email: 522939070d146c35113b442156503b53383a140d3033171c0e337c09353a5f180275

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