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

  • Filipe R. Campante

    ()

    (Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University)

  • Davin Chor

    ()

    (School of Economics, Singapore Management University)

We examine several hypotheses regarding the determinants and implications of political protest, motivated by the wave of popular uprisings in Arab countries starting in late 2010. While the popular narrative has emphasized the role of a youthful demography and political repression, we draw attention back to one of the most fundamental correlates of political activity identified in the literature, namely education. Using a combination of individual-level micro data and cross-country macro data, we highlight how rising levels of education coupled with economic under-performance jointly provide a strong explanation for participation in protest modes of political activity as well as incumbent turnover. Political protests are thus more likely when an increasingly educated populace does not have commensurate economic gains. We also find that the implied political instability is associated with heightened pressures towards democratization.

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Paper provided by Singapore Management University, School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 03-2011.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in SMU Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series
Handle: RePEc:siu:wpaper:03-2011
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Web page: http://www.economics.smu.edu.sg/

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  1. Matteo Bobba & Decio Coviello, 2006. "Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Estimating the Effects of Education on Democracy," Research Department Publications 4472, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  2. Campante, Filipe Robin & Chor, Davin & Do, Quoc-Anh, 2009. "Instability and the Incentives for Corruption," Scholarly Articles 4778510, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
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