Date of Award

Spring 4-30-2018

Degree Type

Closed Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Advisor

Carrie Manning

Second Advisor

Charles Hankla

Third Advisor

Ryan Carlin

Fourth Advisor

Susanne Schorpp


To what extent does judicial independence reduce or increase the prevalence of election violence in transitional states? Specifically, how does variation in judicial independence affect the strategic use of post-election violence by state and non-state actors? Using quantitative and qualitative analysis on judicial independence and post-election violence in African elections, my findings indicate that, compared to non-independent and independent judiciaries, opposition political parties are more likely to employ post-election violence strategically under quasi-independent judiciaries with the purpose of creating electoral uncertainty in order to influence assertive behavior from judges in disputed elections. Consequently, I argue that variation in judicial independence can help explain the likelihood of post-election violence in African countries, all else being equal.