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The Roles of Freedom, Growth, and Religion in the Taste for Revolution

  • Robert MacCulloch
  • Silvia Pezzini

Property rights, whose security may be threatened by terrorism and civil conflict, are a necessary condition for a market economy. Yet a fundamental and unresolved empirical question is whether the lack of political and civil freedoms is a cause of greater insecurity. This paper takes a new approach to an answer by using microdata on 106,170 people in 61 nations for 1981-97. Controlling for country and year fixed effects, we find that freedom has strong and robust negative effects on revolutionary support. A 1-standard-deviation rise in freedom, equivalent to a shift from Argentina to the United States, decreases support by 3 percentage points, or 37 percent of the standard deviation of the proportion of people who want to revolt. Greater growth in the gross domestic product can buy off part of the increase in support when freedoms are constrained. Being religious reduces revolutionary tastes. (c) 2010 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved..

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 53 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (05)
Pages: 329-358

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:53:y:2010:i:2:p:329-358
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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