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Extremism in revolutionary movements

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  • Shadmehr, Mehdi

Abstract

A revolutionary entrepreneur strategically chooses the revolutionary agenda to maximize the likelihood of revolution. Citizens have different preferences and can contribute varying degrees of support. We show: (1) Extremists exert a disproportionate influence over the revolutionary agenda; (2) Depending on the structure of repression, more severe repression can moderate or radicalize the revolutionary agenda. Specifically, increases in the “minimum punishment” (marginal cost of revolutionary effort at its minimum) radicalize the revolutionary agenda. This presents the elite with a tradeoff between extreme but unlikely revolutions and moderate but likely ones. (3) Competition between revolutionary entrepreneurs can radicalize the revolutionary agenda.

Suggested Citation

  • Shadmehr, Mehdi, 2015. "Extremism in revolutionary movements," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 97-121.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:94:y:2015:i:c:p:97-121
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2015.08.003
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicola, Brugali & Paolo, Buonanno & Mario, Gilli, 2018. "Political Regimes and the Determinants of Terrorism and Counter-terrorism," Working Papers 384, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised 13 Jul 2018.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Revolution; Revolutionary entrepreneurs; Extremism; Repression; Repression backlash; Competition;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions

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