Inken von Borzyskowski, Michael Wahman | 2021

Systematic Measurement Error in Election Violence Data: Causes and Consequences

in: British Journal of Political Science, 51:1, 230-252.

What are the causes and consequences of systematic measurement error in violence measures drawn from media-based conflict event data? More specifically, how valid are such event data for geocoding and capturing election violence? This study examines sub-national variation in election violence and uses original data from domestic election monitor surveys as a comparison to widely used sources of event data.

The authors show that conventional data under-report events throughout the election cycle, particularly in sparsely populated areas and outside anticipated violence hotspots. Moreover, systematic measurement error of media-based event data for measuring election violence can generate significant relationships where none exist, and can result in different effect magnitudes. The article suggests areas for future research and indicates ways in which existing work on election violence may have been affected by systematic measurement error.

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