The Dynamic Relationship between Protest and Repression

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Carey, Sabine C. (2006) The Dynamic Relationship between Protest and Repression , Political Research Quarterly 59(1): 1–11.

This study contributes to our understanding of the causal relationship between protest and repression, where both protest and repression range from low to high intensity conflictual behavior. Previous research on domestic conflict has largely ignored that both protest and repression are influenced by each other, as well as that the government and the opposition can also choose to cooperate with each other. This study employs vector autoregressions to account for the interdependence of the behavior of the state and the population. Using daily data from nine Latin American and African countries from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, the results suggest that there is indeed a reciprocal relationship between protest and repression. In most cases, in which protest leads to repression, repression also leads to protest. Using daily data, the results highlight that the response to conflictual behavior is most intense during the first one to four days after the initial action. Although the results suggest a weaker link between cooperative behavior, the direction of the relationship still appears to work both ways, from state cooperation to dissident cooperation and from dissident cooperation to state cooperation. The results also suggest that, although in democracies governments respond more frequently with coercion to dissent, it is usually at a lower level of intensity than in non-democracies.


Sabine C. Carey

Sabine C. Carey

CSCW Working Group Leader; Chair in Political Science, University of Mannheim