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Surrounded and threatened: how neighborhood composition reduces ethnic voting through intimidation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 April 2021

Ted Enamorado*
Assistant Professor of Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA
Svetlana Kosterina
Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Pittsburgh,, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:


Ethnic voting is an important phenomenon in the political lives of numerous countries. In the present paper, we propose a theory explaining why ethnic voting is more prevalent in certain localities than in others and provide evidence for it. We argue that local ethnic geography affects ethnic voting by making voters of ethnicity that finds itself in the minority fear intimidation by their ethnic majority neighbors. We provide empirical evidence for our claim using the data from round 4 of the Afrobarometer survey in Ghana to measure the voters’ beliefs that they are likely to face intimidation during electoral campaigns. Using geocoded data from rounds three and four of the Afrobarometer, as well as data from the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, we find no evidence for local public goods provision as an alternative mechanism.

Original Article
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the European Political Science Association

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