Vigilantism and the transition to local democratic elections

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    I examine the impact of the transition to local democratic elections on vigilantism in Indonesia. Using an event study model, I find that the introduction of local elections led to an increase in vigilante conflict, consistent with most theory and qualitative evidence focussing on national level impacts. I determine that the effects are particularly noteworthy in long-established districts and that the impacts are positively associated with rising state-led violence in law enforcement, results that argue against the propositions that lack of state capacity leads to rising vigilantism and that vigilantism serves to substitute for the state’s weak enforcement of law. Contrary to other research, I find no evidence of increased vigilantism in the run-up to direct local elections, and I establish that vigilante conflict appears to be short-lived after the initiation of local elections, a determination that helps to resolve another debate in the literature.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)226-247
    JournalLocal Government Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2022


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