A Theory of Demographically Targeted Repression

44 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2018 Last revised: 16 Jul 2018

See all articles by Arturas Rozenas

Arturas Rozenas

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics

Date Written: May 18, 2018


People from specific ethnic, racial, or other demographic groups are often subjected to harsher repression than others. This phenomenon of demographically targeted repression has been viewed mostly as a consequence of xenophobic prejudices. I provide a rationalist explanation for demographic targeting as an instrumental political strategy. Building on empirical literature, I model an environment where the risk of repression may motivate people to act against the regime to escape repression. In such conditions, demographic targeting allows the regime to differentially allocate the risk of repression across demographic groups and thereby disincentivize joint anti-regime action. The model identifies conditions under which demographic targeting is likely to occur, clarifies how it shapes behaviors of citizens, and provides a parsimonious resolution to outstanding puzzles.

Keywords: Repression, Collective Action, Autocracy, Discrimination

Suggested Citation

Rozenas, Arturas, A Theory of Demographically Targeted Repression (May 18, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3180747 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3180747

Arturas Rozenas (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics ( email )

19 West 4
New York, NY 10012
United States

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