Income Inequality and the Taste for Revolution
AbstractAlthough property rights are the cornerstone of market economies, throughout history existing claims have been frequently overturned by revolutions. One unsettled question is whether income inequality affects the likelihood of revolt. This paper takes an approach different from previous studies by introducing data derived from two surveys of revolutionary preferences across a quarter-million randomly sampled individuals. More people are found to have a preference for revolt when inequality in their nation is high. A 1-standard-deviation increase in the Gini coefficient explains up to 38 percent of the standard deviation in revolutionary support. The results hold after controlling for a set of personal characteristics and country and year fixed effects. Since higher levels of income are found to have a negative impact on the taste for revolt, the results suggest that either "going for growth" or implementing policies that reduce inequality can buy off those individuals with revolutionary preferences.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law and Economics.
Volume (Year): 48 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
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