38 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2013 Last revised: 31 May 2017
Date Written: October 30, 2015
Most, if not all, post-World War II non-constitutional exits from power by recently-installed leaders have been caused by elite coups, not popular uprisings. The recent experience of Egypt, where the post-Mubarak government collapsed after almost uninterrupted protests since its first day in office, offers a striking counterexample to this pattern. Our theoretical model, incorporating protest into a dynamic Downsian framework, features the significant role of social media and the absence of partisan or personalized leadership. In equilibrium, it is possible to have recurrent protests. Moreover, even non-radical incumbents with wide support can suffer from them. We show that recurrent revolutions feature the emergence of new dictators on the opposite side of the political spectrum.
Keywords: Arab Spring, autocracy, collective action, social media, regime change
JEL Classification: C42, L96, D74
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation