Rallies around the flag-draped coffins: The electoral effects of security force casualties in terror attacks

Resul Umit
(2021) Political Science Research and Methods

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Security forces are one of the main targets of political violence. This article examines the effect of their casualties on electoral outcomes. Between two general elections in 2015, Turkey experienced a series of attacks that killed 153 members of its security forces. Based on the as-if random assignment of their funerals across the country, I estimate that government vote share increases in the funeral places of security force terror victims. However, in the localities with recurring funerals, it decreases by a similar percentage. These non-linear changes provide strong evidence for the rally theory.