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Gauging the potential for social unrest

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  • Oded Stark

    ()

  • Walter Hyll
  • Doris Behrens

Abstract

It stands to reason that social unrest does not erupt out of the blue. Although there are a great many reasons why social dismay might descend into social disorder, only few yardsticks or indices can plausibly be used to gauge the potential for social unrest (PSU). If policy makers want to undertake public action to prevent social dismay escalating into social disruption, they obviously need to draw on practical sensors. This paper assesses critically the adequacy of two such measures, the polarization (P) index, and the total relative deprivation (TRD) index. The paper proposes a tentative guide to selecting between these two measures. A review of three stylized scenarios suggests that, where income redistributions reduce the number of distinct income groups, and when each group is characterized by a strong sense of within-group identity, the P index surpasses the TRD index as a basis for predicting PSU. When the within-group identification is weak, however, it is better to use the TRD index to predict PSU.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-009-9499-7
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 143 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 229-236

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:143:y:2010:i:1:p:229-236

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

Related research

Keywords: Social dismay; Potential for social unrest; Polarization; Total relative deprivation; Policy choice; D31; D63;

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  1. Duclos, Jean-Yves & Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 2003. "Polarization: Concepts, Measurement, Estimation," Cahiers de recherche 0301, CIRPEE.
  2. BOSSERT, Walter & D'AMBROSIO, Conchita, 2004. "Reference Groups and Individual Deprivation," Cahiers de recherche 2004-10, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  3. Joan-Maria Esteban & Debraj Ray, 1991. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 18, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  4. Stark, Oded, 2006. "Inequality and migration: A behavioral link," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 146-152, April.
  5. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1979. "Relative Deprivation and the Gini Coefficient," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 321-24, May.
  6. Atin Basuchoudhary & William Shughart, 2010. "On Ethnic Conflict And The Origins Of Transnational Terrorism," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 65-87.
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