Quiet Riot: The Causal Effect of Protest Violence
37 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2013 Last revised: 31 Mar 2017
Date Written: September 25, 2013
Estimating the effect of violent forms of political protest on protest success is complicated by endogeneity and omitted variable bias. In this work, I utilize instrumental variables methods to estimate the causal effect of violent protest on the likelihood that protesters win policy concessions. Using daily French protest data and a set of weather and school holiday instruments, I find a significant and negative relationship between property destruction associated with protests and the chance of near-term success in changing policy. The IV estimates are larger than OLS estimates and are robust to a variety of alternative specifications. Such findings are predicted by several posited endogeneity channels, and, they suggest that political violence does not, in fact, pay off.
Keywords: protest, violence, instrumental variables, endogeneity, social movements, France, causality
JEL Classification: D72, J52, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation