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Emotions and Political Unrest

  • Francesco Passarelli
  • Guido Tabellini

This paper formulates a general theory of how political unrest influences public policy. Political unrest is motivated by emotions. Individuals engage in protests if they are aggrieved and feel that they have been treated unfairly. This reaction is predictable because individuals have a consistent view of what is fair. This framework yields novel insights about the sources of political influence of different groups in society. Even if the government is benevolent and all groups have access to the same technology for political participation, equilibrium policy can be distorted. Individuals form their view of what is fair taking into account the current state of the world. If fewer aggregate resources are available, individuals accept a lower level of welfare. This resignation effect in turn induces a benevolent government to procrastinate unpleasant policy choices.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2013/wp-cesifo-2013-03/cesifo1_wp4165.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4165.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4165
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  2. Jonathan Shalev, 2000. "Loss aversion equilibrium," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 269-287.
  3. repec:van:wpaper:0410 is not listed on IDEAS
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  5. Sugden, Robert, 2003. "Reference-dependent subjective expected utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 172-191, August.
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  18. Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2005. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 4952, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Fehr, Ernst & Hart, Oliver & Zehnder, Christian, 2008. "Contracts as Reference Points: Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 3889, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  20. William J. Collins & Robert A. Margo, 2004. "The Labor Market Effects of the 1960s Riots," NBER Working Papers 10243, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. DiPasquale, Denise & Glaeser, Edward L., 1998. "The Los Angeles Riot and the Economics of Urban Unrest," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 52-78, January.
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  23. John C. Harsanyi, 1953. "Cardinal Utility in Welfare Economics and in the Theory of Risk-taking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61, pages 434.
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