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Regionalism and Political Violence

by Magesan, Arvind and Kapoor, Sacha

We study the eect of representation by regional political parties on political vio- lence in India. Using a regression discontinuity design that exploits close elections, we nd that the election of a regional-party candidate increases the probability of a violent event in the subsequent inter-election years by 6 percentage points and the number of violent events by 9 percent. It increases the probability of a death due to political vio- lence by 6 percentage points and the number of deaths by 16 percent. The increase in violence is explained by insurgent groups being more able to carry out violent attacks when the local elected ocial is a member of a regional party, suggesting that regional ocials lack either the will or the capacity to control violence.

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