Votes and violence: evidence from a field experiment in Nigeria

Paul Collier, Pedro C. Vicente

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Elections are now common in low-income societies. However, they are frequently flawed. We investigate a Nigerian election marred by violence. We designed and conducted a nationwide field experiment based on anti-violence campaigning. The campaign appealed to collective action through electoral participation, and worked through town meetings, popular theatres and door-to-door distribution of materials. We find that the campaign decreased violence perceptions and increased empowerment to counteract violence. We observe a rise in voter turnout and infer that the intimidation was dissociated from incumbents. These effects are accompanied by a reduction in the intensity of actual violence, as measured by journalists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F327-F355
JournalEconomic Journal
Issue number574
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014


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