Preventing Mass Mobilization: Autocratic Responses to Revolutionary Threats

34 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2012 Last revised: 12 Mar 2015

See all articles by Jing-Yuan Chiou

Jing-Yuan Chiou

IMT Institute for Advanced Studies

Mark Dincecco

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Trevor Johnston

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Date Written: March 11, 2015

Abstract

Revolutionary movements depend on mass mobilization. To prevent revolt, autocrats can use domestic and foreign policy instruments. We model the autocrat's policy choice with a focus on the coordination problem that underlies revolutionary mobilization. We show that the relationship between revolutionary threats and policy responses may be non-monotonic. Smaller threats may actually provide stronger incentives for autocrats to prevent mobilization, since policies are more cost-effective when threats are low. Furthermore, we show that domestic and foreign policies can serve as substitutes or complements. We argue that these insights help resolve contradictory empirical results.

Keywords: autocracy, cooptation, repression, foreign diversion, revolution, global games

Suggested Citation

Chiou, Jing-Yuan and Dincecco, Mark and Johnston, Trevor, Preventing Mass Mobilization: Autocratic Responses to Revolutionary Threats (March 11, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2127295 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2127295

Jing-Yuan Chiou

IMT Institute for Advanced Studies ( email )

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Mark Dincecco (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/umich.edu/dincecco

Trevor Johnston

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

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