Online: Charles Butcher - Friday on my mind: Re-assessing the Impact of Protest Size on Government Concessions

Online: Charles Butcher - Friday on my mind: Re-assessing the Impact of Protest Size on Government Concessions

Do more protesters on the streets make regimes more likely to concede to protester demands? Several studies have linked protest size and the likelihood of government concessions. Yet existing research has three limitations: many studies fail to distinguish between distinct causal mechanisms, are limited to protests in Western democracies, and, most critically, suffer from potential endogeneity problems. We re-examine the relationship between protest size and government concessions by expanding the population under examination beyond Western democracies and distinguishing mechanisms and addressing endogeneity through a novel instrumental variable approach. Our methodological innovation is to examine protest in majority-Muslim countries using Fridays as an instrument for exogenous variation in protest size. We perform two separate analyses: the first on protests in 14 Muslim-majority countries from 1990 through 2012 in the NAVCO 3.0 dataset, and the second on protests in 34 predominately Muslim countries from 2002 to 2015 from the Mass Mobilization in Autocracies Dataset (MMAD). We find in both analyses that exogenous variation in protest size captured by the Friday instrument has a \textit{negative} effect on the likelihood of government concessions. We argue these results point to the importance of unanticipated, large protests that produce new information about regime stability to motivate government concessions.

About the presenter:

My research interests include the onset and dynamics of resistance movements in authoritarian states, especially how variations in organizational participation influence the long and short-term outcomes of these movements. I am a PI on the 'Anatomy of Resistance Campaigns' (ARC) project which aims to understand how different networks of organizations in collective dissent influence the prospects of sustainable democratization. I am also interested in understanding the onset of armed conflicts, the use of violence against civilians by armed groups in war and understanding the structure and dynamics of historical and non-western state systems.

Zoom Details

Meeting Link
Meeting Password: 12345


Date & time

Thu 03 Sep 2020, 4–5.30pm




Charles Butcher


Liliana Oyarzun


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