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Ne parlons pas de l'Affair Dreyfus

Antisemitic riots and polarisation in late 19th-century France

Add to calendar 2024-02-13 17:30 2024-02-13 18:45 Europe/Rome Ne parlons pas de l'Affair Dreyfus Hybrid Event Sala del Capitolo and Zoom YYYY-MM-DD


13 February 2024

17:30 - 18:45 CET


Hybrid Event

Sala del Capitolo and Zoom

This session of the Political Behaviour Colloquium features a presentation by Pau Grau (PhD Researcher, EUI).

Political actors often resort to riots to advance their objectives. A key question is when they are effective and under which conditions. While most recent literature has focused on contemporary left-wing riots, we contribute to this body of knowledge by looking at right-wing riots in late 19th century France. We use a combination of historical municipal-level electoral data and newly collected information on antisemitic riots in early 1898, which followed the publication of Emile Zola’s J’accuse in the context of the Dreyfus Affair. Using a difference in-differences design – comparing municipalities where riots occurred to those that were not affected by the riots – we show that riots caused an increase of about 5% in the share of votes in the 1898 elections for extreme right-wing candidates at the expense of centre-right candidates. These results are consistent to different specifications and robustness tests. The increase in votes for the radical right are partially driven by an increase in turnout, but not by anti-incumbent voting, which suggests that the riots caused a shift in political opinions amongst right-leaning voters. The results of this study contribute valuable insights into understanding the consequences of political violence, suggesting that riots can contributed to the mobilisation of the radical right, and that this effect already existed in the early years of democratic elections.

The Zoom link will be sent upon registration. If you would like to receive the paper, please contact [email protected].

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