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Fear of campaign violence and support for democracy and autocracy

von Borzyskowski, Inken; Daxecker, Ursula; Kuhn, Patrick M.

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Inken von Borzyskowski

Ursula Daxecker


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.


von Borzyskowski, I., Daxecker, U., & Kuhn, P. M. (2022). Fear of campaign violence and support for democracy and autocracy. Conflict Management and Peace Science, 39(5), 542-564.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 30, 2021
Online Publication Date Jul 5, 2021
Publication Date Sep 1, 2022
Deposit Date Jul 5, 2021
Publicly Available Date Aug 19, 2021
Journal Conflict Management and Peace Science
Print ISSN 0738-8942
Electronic ISSN 1549-9219
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 39
Issue 5
Pages 542-564


Published Journal Article (Online First) (436 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
Online First 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 (

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