What is it about?

The current article investigates societal indicators associated with economic development that may account for the strong positive correlation between GDP per capita and protest intensity. The authors’ tests reveal that the expansion of democratization, education, and urbanization are one of the main influences accounting for this positive relationship between GDP per capita growth and anti-government protest intensity. Moreover, when controlling for these factors, the relationship between GDP per capita and anti-state protests becomes negative indicating that the forces associated with economic development at a certain point play a larger role than economic growth itself. The results of this study, thus, have implications for both Resource Mobilization and Cultural Theorists due to the fact that further GDP per capita growth becomes an inhibitor of protests in the high-income countries instead of a promoter.

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Why is it important?

Previous studies have revealed a somewhat paradoxically strong positive relationship between GDP per capita and the intensity of anti-government demonstrations (indeed, it turns out that the better people live, the more likely they are to go out on the streets with anti-government protests). The tests carried out by the authors show that the processes of democratization and urbanization, as well as the expansion of formal education, are likely to be the main factors determining the positive relationship between GDP per capita and the intensity of anti-government demonstrations, since urbanization, democratization, and the growth of education of the population lead to an increase in the intensity of protests.

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This page is a summary of: Socio-Economic Development and Protests, Comparative Sociology, June 2021, Brill, DOI: 10.1163/15691330-bja10030.
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