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Essays in protest and repression

Author: Darin Christensen; James D Fearon; Jeremy M Weinstein; David D Laitin; Stanford University. Department of Political Science.
Publisher: 2016.
Dissertation: Ph. D. Stanford University 2016
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Document : Thesis/dissertation : eBook   Computer File : English
Summary:
While civil wars and armed conflict have declined in Africa, protest incidence has increased. To explain when these protests emerge, we need to know (1) what individuals stand to gain from demonstrating, (2) how they overcome collective action problems, and (3) whether and how severely the state responds. The three chapters of this dissertation bring new theory and findings to bear on these three steps in the logic  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Academic theses
Material Type: Document, Thesis/dissertation, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Darin Christensen; James D Fearon; Jeremy M Weinstein; David D Laitin; Stanford University. Department of Political Science.
OCLC Number: 950479663
Notes: Submitted to the Department of Political Science.
Description: 1 online resource
Responsibility: Darin Christensen.

Abstract:

While civil wars and armed conflict have declined in Africa, protest incidence has increased. To explain when these protests emerge, we need to know (1) what individuals stand to gain from demonstrating, (2) how they overcome collective action problems, and (3) whether and how severely the state responds. The three chapters of this dissertation bring new theory and findings to bear on these three steps in the logic of protest and repression. First, what motivates demonstrators? In rural areas, the upward trend in protests captures an increase in mining and land-related conflicts. Common explanations for these protests focus on environmental harm, an influx of job-seeking migrants, or predation by rebel groups. Chapter 1 argues, instead, that the evidence supports a different explanation -- conflictual bargaining over the division of profits between mining companies and poorly informed host communities. Second, how do these protesters organize? Communities must overcome a coordination problem and face the risk of repression. Chapter 2 employs a quasi-experimental design to demonstrate that cell phone access has lowered the costs of protesting by easing communication among would-be demonstrators and by deterring the use of repression, as governments now fear that any brutality will be quickly and widely disseminated over cell phone and social media networks. Third, under what conditions does the state repress protests? Chapter 3 uncovers and explains two widespread patterns in how governments in Africa deploy repression: first, repression is more likely in response to urban demonstrations; but, second, when states intervene in rural areas, they are 75% more likely to kill demonstrators. These patterns suggest that small protests in remote towns pose a minor threat and, thus, prompt infrequent repression. Yet, when the state cracks down in rural areas, it worries less that brutality will spark a backlash, as there are fewer bystanders who might join the fray.

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