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Emotions and Political Unrest

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  • Passarelli, Francesco
  • Tabellini, Guido

Abstract

This paper formulates a 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Passarelli, Francesco & Tabellini, Guido, 2013. "Emotions and Political Unrest," CEPR Discussion Papers 9446, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9446
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    Cited by:

    1. Guimarães, Bernardo de Vasconcellos & Ladeira, Carlos Eduardo de Almeida, 2015. "The determinants of IMF fiscal conditionalities: economics or politics?," Textos para discussão 391, FGV/EESP - Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    2. Enikolopov, Ruben & Makarin, Alexey & Petrova, Maria, 2016. "Social Media and Protest Participation: Evidence from Russia," CEPR Discussion Papers 11254, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Sangnier, Marc & Zylberberg, Yanos, 2017. "Protests and trust in the state: Evidence from African countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 55-67.
    4. Klaus Wälde, 2016. "Emotion Research in Economics," Working Papers 1611, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
    5. Landon, Stuart & Smith, Constance, 2017. "Does the design of a fiscal rule matter for welfare?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 226-237.
    6. repec:oup:restud:v:84:y:2017:i:1:p:143-181. is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Toke Aidt & Gabriel Leon & Max Satchell, 2017. "The Social Dynamics of Collective Action: Evidence from the Captain Swing Riots, 1830-31," CESifo Working Paper Series 6773, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Edoardo Grillo, 2014. "Reference Dependence and Politicians' Credibility," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 353, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    9. Sangnier, Marc & Zylberberg, Yanos, 2017. "Protests and trust in the state: Evidence from African countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 55-67.
    10. Thomas Fujiwara & Carlos Sanz, 2017. "Norms in Bargaining: Evidence from Government Formation in Spain," NBER Working Papers 24137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. repec:eee:macchp:v2-2599 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Funke, Manuel & Schularick, Moritz & Trebesch, Christoph, 2016. "Going to extremes: Politics after financial crises, 1870–2014," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 227-260.
    13. Salvatore Nunnari & Jan Zapal, 2017. "A Model of Focusing in Political Choice," Working Papers 599, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    14. Gustavo S. Cortes & Marc D. Weidenmier, 2017. "Stock Volatility and the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 23554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Alberto Alesina & Andrea Passalacqua, 2015. "The Political Economy of Government Debt," NBER Working Papers 21821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Benjamin Lockwood, 2015. "Voter Confirmation Bias and Electoral Accountability," CESifo Working Paper Series 5415, CESifo Group Munich.
    17. Ben Lockwood & James Rockey, 2015. "Negative Voters: Electoral Competition with Loss-Aversion," Discussion Papers in Economics 15/15, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    18. Thomas Fujiwara & Carlos Sanz, 2017. "Norms in bargaining: evidence from government formation in Spain," Working Papers 1741, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    19. Stefano Dellavigna & John A. List & Ulrike Malmendier & Gautam Rao, 2017. "Voting to Tell Others," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(1), pages 143-181.
    20. Aidt, T. S. & Leon, G. & Satchell, M., 2017. "The Social Dynamics of Collective Action: Evidence from the Captain Swing Riots, 1830-31," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1751, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    21. van Winden, Frans, 2015. "Political economy with affect: On the role of emotions and relationships in political economics," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PB), pages 298-311.
    22. Carlos Viana de Carvalho & Eduardo Zilberman & Ruy Ribeiro, "undated". "Sentiment, Electoral Uncertainty and Stock Returns," Textos para discussão 655, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
    23. Thomas Moutos & Lambros Pechlivanos, 2013. "The Democratization of Rent Seeking in Greece," CESifo Working Paper Series 4331, CESifo Group Munich.
    24. Alberto Alesina & Francesco Passarelli, 2015. "Loss Aversion in Politics," NBER Working Papers 21077, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    emotions; fairness; political economics; procrastrination; public debt; riots; unrest;

    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General

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