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"The People Want the Fall of the Regime": Schooling, Political Protest, and the Economy

  • Filipe Campante

    (Harvard University)

We provide evidence that economic circumstances are a key intermediating variable for understanding the relationship between schooling and political protest. Using the World Values Survey data, we find that individuals with higher levels of schooling, but whose income outcomes fall short of that predicted by a comprehensive set of their observable characteristics, in turn display a greater propensity to engage in protest activities. We argue that this evidence is consistent with the idea that a decrease in the opportunity cost of the use of human capital in labor markets encourages its use in political activities instead, and is unlikely to be explained solely by either a pure grievance effect or by self-selection. We then show separate evidence that these forces appear to matter too at the country level: Rising education levels coupled with macroeconomic weakness are associated with increased incumbent turnover, as well as subsequent pressures toward democratization.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2013 Meeting Papers with number 54.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed013:54
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