Income Growth and Revolutions’

CSCW/Governance RG Brownbag with Carl Henrik Knutsen

Please note: This page refers to an event that has already taken place.

Time: Wednesday, 18 April 2012 12:00-13:30
Place: War Room, PRIO

Please be invited to a Brownbag with Carl Henrik Knutsen 18th of April from 12:00-13:30, in the War Room. Carl Henrik will present the paper Income Growth and Revolutions
Do economic crises induce revolutions? Do richer countries have a lower probability of experiencing revolutions than poorer countries? The literature on the determinants of revolutions includes several theoretical contributions and case studies dealing with such questions. But, in contrast with the literatures on determinants of democratization or civil war, there are few statistical studies on the economic determinants of revolutions. This paper makes a contribution by investigating whether short-term and long-term income growth systematically affect the probabilities of attempted and successful revolutions, using an extensive panel data set. The paper first presents and discusses theoretical arguments on effects of long-term and short-term growth on revolution, and elaborates on different hypotheses deduced from these arguments. Thereafter, the paper conducts a statistical analysis, with some models incorporating data for 150 countries and some time series extending from 1919 to 2003. The most important, and robust, results are that low short-term growth increases the probabilities of both attempted and successful revolution. There is also some evidence that higher income levels reduce probability of revolution attempts, but this result is not robust; and, closer inspection indicates that a potential effect may be due to oil and gas income more specifically. Furthermore, there is no net effect of income level on successful revolution, but high income reduces the probability of successful revolutions more in democracies than in dictatorships. The paper also investigates Davies’ (1962) J-curve hypothesis and Gurr’s (1970) decremental deprivation hypothesis. Although revolution occurs more frequently after J-curves and decremental deprivation patterns, this is largely due to economic crises, and not the more complex patterns as hypothesized by Davies and Gurr.

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