The Role of Freedom, Growth and Religion in the Taste for Revolution
London School of Economics Working Paper No. 01-2001
39 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2004
Date Written: May 12, 2004
Property rights, whose security is often threatened by civil conflict, are a necessary condition for the establishment of a market economy. Yet a fundamental and unresolved empirical question is whether the lack of political and civil freedoms is one of the root causes of greater insecurity. This paper takes a new approach to provide an answer by using micro-data on the revolutionary tastes of 106,170 people in 61 nations from 1981-97. Controlling for country fixed effects, year fixed effects and endogeneity, freedom has strong and robust negative effects on revolutionary support. A one standard deviation rise in freedom, equivalent to a shift from Argentina to the US, decreases the support for a revolt by 3 percentage points, or 38% of the standard deviation of the proportion of people who want one. Higher GDP growth rates can buy off part of the increase in revolutionary support when freedoms are constrained. There is also evidence that being religious reduces revolutionary tastes although the size of the effect varies with the extent of freedom and disappears entirely in non-free nations.
Keywords: Revolt, Property Rights, Freedom, Growth, Religion
JEL Classification: D74, H11, O1, O4, Z12
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