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Fear of campaign violence and support for democracy and autocracy

von Borzyskowski, Inken and Daxecker, Ursula and Kuhn, Patrick M. (2021) 'Fear of campaign violence and support for democracy and autocracy.', Conflict Management and Peace Science .


Election violence is common in many developing countries and has potentially detrimental implications for democratic consolidation. Drawing on political psychology, we argue that citizens’ fear of campaign violence undermines support for democracy while increasing support for autocracy. Using individual-level survey data from 21 electoral democracies in Sub-Saharan Africa, we find robust support for our argument. Citizens fearing campaign violence are less likely to support democracy and multi-party competition, more likely to favor a return to autocracy, and less likely to turn out to vote. Our findings have important implications for democratic survival and provide further impetus for reducing electoral violence.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Date accepted:30 May 2021
Date deposited:19 August 2021
Date of first online publication:05 July 2021
Date first made open access:19 August 2021

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