Abstract

Competitive, but imperfectly democratic elections have become the predominant mode for selecting political leaders around the globe, even in very poor countries. Such elections are often projected to spark struggles for power by unsanctioned means, yet there has not been a corresponding rise in coups, assassinations, or the onset of civil wars for central control. Using updated datasets on various aspects of political competition over the past 50 years, this article looks carefully at the historical record. Contested elections in low-income nations are associated with the timing of irregular, violent efforts to seize or influence political leadership, but do not correlate with a greater number of such events.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3214
Print ISSN
1045-5736
Pages
pp. 119-132
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-19
Open Access
No
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