The Logic of Insurgent Electoral Violence

Data Type
Event Data
Survey Data
Year Covered


From 2003 to 2015, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan security forces tracked insurgent attacks by documenting the approximate time (often to the minute) and precise (geo-referenced) location of attacks perpetrated against or reported to them. This dataset includes more than 200,000 insurgent attacks, with each observation identified by attack type (e.g., direct fire). We combine these conflict microdata with previously unreleased survey data, information on population and settlement locations, voting records, and a highly detailed map of Afghanistan’s road network.

This data is replication data for "The Logic of Insurgent Electoral Violence". The abstract of the paper is:

Competitive elections are essential to establishing the political legitimacy of democratizing regimes. We argue that insurgents undermine the state's mandate through electoral violence. We study insurgent violence during elections using newly declassified microdata on the conflict in Afghanistan. Our data track insurgent activity by hour to within meters of attack locations. Our results suggest that insurgents carefully calibrate their production of violence during elections to avoid harming civilians. Leveraging a novel instrumental variables approach, we find that violence depresses voting. Collectively, the results suggest insurgents try to depress turnout while avoiding backlash from harming civilians. Counterfactual exercises provide potentially actionable insights for safeguarding at-risk elections and enhancing electoral legitimacy in emerging democracies.

Use of this data should cite: 

Condra, Luke N., James D. Long, Andrew C. Shaver, and Austin L. Wright. 2018. "The Logic of Insurgent Electoral Violence." American Economic Review, 108 (11): 3199-3231.DOI: 10.1257/aer.20170416

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