Quiet Riot: The Causal Effect of Protest Violence

37 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2013 Last revised: 31 Mar 2017

Date Written: September 25, 2013


Estimating the effect of violent forms of political protest on protest success is complicated by endogeneity and omitted variable bias. In this work, I utilize instrumental variables methods to estimate the causal effect of violent protest on the likelihood that protesters win policy concessions. Using daily French protest data and a set of weather and school holiday instruments, I find a significant and negative relationship between property destruction associated with protests and the chance of near-term success in changing policy. The IV estimates are larger than OLS estimates and are robust to a variety of alternative specifications. Such findings are predicted by several posited endogeneity channels, and, they suggest that political violence does not, in fact, pay off.

Keywords: protest, violence, instrumental variables, endogeneity, social movements, France, causality

JEL Classification: D72, J52, K42

Suggested Citation

Huet-Vaughn, Emiliano, Quiet Riot: The Causal Effect of Protest Violence (September 25, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2331520 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2331520

Emiliano Huet-Vaughn (Contact Author)

UCLA ( email )

4284 School of Public Affairs
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

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