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Explaining physical violence in parliaments

Schmoll, Moritz ORCID: 0000-0001-6937-3217 and Ting, Wang Leung (2023) Explaining physical violence in parliaments. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 67 (2-3). 375 - 401. ISSN 0022-0027

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Identification Number: 10.1177/00220027221115352


Why do lawmakers resort to physical violence in some parliaments but not in others? Brawls not only constitute a stark break with democratic norms and ideals, they also affect voter perceptions and have been seen as a bellwether for conflict and democratic backsliding. Yet, the phenomenon remains poorly understood. This paper introduces a new, original dataset recording reported incidents of physical fights in parliaments across the globe between 1980 and 2018 that includes almost four times more cases of violence than existing data. Theoretically, we argue that levels of democracy and the composition of parliament should drive violence. The analysis shows that fighting is most common in countries that are neither very autocratic nor very democratic, in fragmented parliaments, and in chambers with slim majorities. The findings have implications for the study of (de-)democratization, political instability, and the design of democratic institutions.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2022 15:24
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2024 20:24

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