This dissertation explores the role of exogenous shocks such as economic shocks and natural disasters in producing political unrest in the form of anti-government protests and ethnic riots. It is integrated by three articles, each covering a different topic. The first article argues that economic shocks play a crucial role in protest mobilization in rentier states conditional on weaker repressive capacity or higher taxation. Empirically, it conducts a cross-national study of high-resource dependent states in the period of 1995-2014. The second article contends that there is a variation in a degree to which a country's regions are exposed to economic shocks. A higher regional exposure to economic shocks is argued to increase the likelihood of regional anti-government protest at in competitive autocracies. The argument is tested in a subnational analysis of Russia using original dataset of regional anti-government protest and regional economic data in the period of 2007-2015. The third article develops a theory of natural disasters and ethnic riots. It argues that climate-induced meteorological disasters increase chances of ethnic riots because of declined state capacity that creates uncertainty about enforcement of existing ethnic contracts, and feelings of uncertainty result in strong group categorization, stereotyping and polarization. The argument is tested in a subnational study of Hindu-Muslim riots in Indian states in the period of 1951-2015. The results of the studies in this dissertation offer three key findings: (1) higher resource rents lower protest likelihood in autocratic rentier states with higher repressive capacity; (2) regional unemployment is a strong predictor of anti-government protest; (3) natural disasters in the form of precipitation and temperature anomalies increase chances of ethnic riots. The findings suggest a conclusion that exogenous shocks are important predictors of anti-government protest and ethnic riots.
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Tezcur, Gunes Murat
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Nurmanova, Didara, "Exogenous Shocks and Political Unrest" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6355.