Political violence and time in power Academic Article uri icon


  • With this article we hope to add something new to explanations for violence within polities. We examine the consequences of time in power for political violence. We are interested in the length of time a leader is in power and the time when political violence occurs. We start with a simple hypothesis: the longer a leader is in power, the less likely it is that there will be occurrences of large-scale political violence. We are not aware of any theories of violence that have taken account of leadership duration. We do not argue below that leadership duration and the timing of violence explain all variation in violent political outcomes. Rather, it is our assertion that theories of violence have ignored an important factor: the length of time that a leader has been in power. Throughout the analyses presented in this article we have found a relationship between the number of years a leader has been in power and the probability and volume of political violence that the nation that they are governing is likely to experience. As the length of a leader's time in power increases, the probability of political violence declines. This relationship has been demonstrated to be significant in both statistical and substantive terms in a number of different statistical settings that make a variety of assumptions about the quality of the data we are working with and the underlying relationships we are investigating.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Whitten, G. D., & Bienen, H. S.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Whitten, GD||Bienen, HS

publication date

  • January 1996