Discussion paper

DP18842 Fear to Vote: Explosions, Salience, and Elections

We study how antipersonnel landmines thwart democratic accountability and the consolidation of post-conflict democratic institutions. We do so by exploiting the randomness in the timing of landmine explosions relative to election days, comparing the electoral outcomes of voting polls located close to a pre-election explosion with those of polls near a post-election blast. We show that landmine explosions are salient stimuli that produce fear, reducing political participation. While the turnout reduction takes place across the ideological spectrum, we document that the explosions induce shifts in the political preferences of individuals who do vote, which are inconsistent with retrospective voting.


Vargas, J, M Purroy, F Coy, S Perilla and M Prem (2024), ‘DP18842 Fear to Vote: Explosions, Salience, and Elections‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 18842. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp18842