How important is culture to understand political protest?

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The literature considers nonviolent protests among the most important predictors of transitions towards democracy and democratic reforms. This study addresses the conditionsmaking countries more likely to experience nonviolent instead of violent forms of protest. While the literature emphasizes economic and political predictors of protest at the country level, we expand the study of nonviolent-vs-violent protest by incorporating cultural predictors. To do so, we use a newly developed time-pooled cross-sectional database covering an established set of orientations from the World Values Survey, known as “emancipative values”. Estimating the prevalence of these values at the country level as a time-varying predictor of nonviolent-vs-violent protests, we present the first comprehensively longitudinal analysis of the determinants of protests. Taking into account time-varying unobserved heterogeneity, persistence, the excess number of zeros and over-dispersion in protest event data, we find that emancipative values are a significant and positive predictor of the countries’ nonviolent protest levels, yet not violent protest levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105661
JournalWorld Development
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 01.12.2021

    Research areas

  • Culture, Emancipative values, Political protest
  • Politics