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Using violence, seeking votes: Introducing the Militant Group Electoral Participation (MGEP) dataset

Abstract

In many cases, including some of the most destructive civil conflicts and some of the newest emerging democracies, militant and ex-militant groups form political parties to participate in elections. Despite the prevalence of such electoral participation, it has rarely been studied, and scholars have not explored its influence on outcomes such as conflict or democratization. A lack of comprehensive data has impeded this research. The dataset introduced in this article provides annual data on militant and ex-militant group participation in legislative elections between 1970 and 2010. The Militant Group Electoral Participation (MGEP) dataset allows for further empirical study of the patterns, causes, and consequences of this behavior. Moreover, in combination with other datasets, MGEP stands to provide additional insights on conflict, peace, democratization, and electoral politics more broadly. In this article, I describe MGEP, provide summary statistics on the data, and show its applications, including through a replication study on post-conflict elections.

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