Voting after the bombing: Can terrorist attacks change the outcome of democratic elections?
José Garcia Montalvo
Economists have recently turned their attention to the effects of terrorism. One much debated effect of terrorist attacks is its impact on the results of democratic elections. We use the electoral consequences of the terrorist attacks of the 11-M in Madrid to analyze this issue. We consider this particular experiment since the attack took place only three days before the 2004 Congressional Election, which allows the use of credible identification criteria. In particular, we use the advance voting by Spanish residents abroad, who cast their vote before the terrorist attack, to identify the effect of the bombing. We exploit this macabre natural experiment to run a difference-in-differences estimation using data on three consecutive Congressional elections. Our empirical results indicate that a terrorist attack can have a large impact on the outcome of democratic elections.
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