Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: 
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies Working Paper No. HEIDWP19-2015
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva
Do incidents of ethnic polarization influence voter behavior? I address this question through the case study of India, the world's largest functional democracy. Specifically, I test whether prior events of Hindu-Muslim riots electorally benefit Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), a prominent Hindu nationalist party? The paper contributes to the literature by being the first to establish a causal relationship between Hindu-Muslim riots and BJP's electoral performance. Results show that riots have a positive and significant effect on BJP's vote share and are robust to our instrumentation strategy. The party vote share increases between 2.9 to 4.4 percent in response to different riot outcomes. Results seem to back the theory of electoral incentives i.e. parties representing elites among ethnic groups may have an incentive to instigate ethnic conflict to influence the marginal voter.
Ethnic conflict
Hindu Muslim riots
Electoral performance
Voter behavior
Bharatiya JantaParty (BJP)
Document Type: 
Working Paper

Files in This Item:
602.57 kB

Items in EconStor are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.