Electoral competition under the threat of political unrest

Matthew Ellman, Leonard Wantchekon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


We study elections in which one party (the strong party) controls a source of political unrest; e.g., this party could instigate riots if it lost the election. We show that the strong party is more likely to win the election when there is less information about its ability to cause unrest. This is because when the weak party is better informed, it can more reliably prevent political unrest by implementing a "centrist" policy. When there is uncertainty over the credibility of the threat, "posturing" by the strong party leads to platform divergence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-531
Number of pages33
JournalQuarterly Journal of Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics


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