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The Electoral Consequences of Direct Political Action: Evidence from Brazil

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

David S. Brown
University of Colorado and Institute of Behavioral Science.
J. Christopher Brown
University of Kansas.
Maureen M. Donaghy
University of Colorado.


Democracy affords citizens the ability to influence policy through participation in elections and through direct political action. Though previous scholarship evaluates the impact each strategy has on outcomes, little if any work exists that examines how one strategy, direct action, affects success in the other, elections. This study analyzes the relationship between land occupations and the electoral success of the Workers' Party in Brazil between 1996 and 2006. It finds that the relationship varies in presidential and mayoral elections depending on income inequality and incumbency. Once the PT captures the presidential office in 2002, these effects disappear, suggesting that the effect of political protest also depends on who is in office.

Research Article
Copyright © University of Miami 2011

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