Triggers and characteristics of the 2007 Kenyan electoral violence

Stefan Dercon, Roxana Gutiérrez-Romero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


Following the disputed 2007 Kenyan Presidential election unprecedented levels of violence erupted across the country adding to the history of troubled elections in Africa. This paper offers quantitative and qualitative evidence on the issues that triggered the electoral violence, its incidence, and impacts. Using two surveys conducted before and after the election we find that one out of three Kenyans was affected by the violence regardless of their ethnicity and wealth. The chances of being a victim of violence were higher in areas with land conflicts and where politically-connected gangs operated. Violence, which was mainly triggered by the perception that the election had been rigged, increased support toward lawlessness, reduced trust and social capital among communities. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-744
JournalWorld Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012


  • Africa
  • Electoral violence
  • Institutions
  • Kenya
  • Rule of law
  • Voting


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