Political repression motivates anti-government violence

Journal article

Bartusevičius, Henrikas; Florian van Leeuwen & Michael Bang Petersen (2023) Political repression motivates anti-government violence, Royal Society Open Science 10 (6): 1–18.


We examined whether political repression deters citizens from engaging in anti-government behaviour (its intended goal) or in fact motivates it. Analyses of 101 nationally representative samples from three continents (N = 139 266) revealed a positive association between perceived levels of repression and intentions to engage in anti-government violence. Additional analyses of fine-grained data from three countries characterized by widespread repression and anti-government violence (N = 2960) identified a positive association between personal experience with repression and intentions to engage in anti-government violence. Randomized experiments revealed that thoughts about repression also motivate participation in anti-government violence. These results suggest that political repression, aside from being normatively abhorrent, motivates anti-repressor violence.

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