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Article

Stability of Revolutionary Governments in the Face of Mass Protest

European Journal of Political Economy. 2019. Vol. 60. P. 101812.
Dagaev D., Lamberova N., Sobolev A.

Why do some newly introduced revolutionary governments face anti-government demonstrations and swiftly exit office, while others are able to establish political regimes that last for decades? Historical evidence finds revolutionary governments in the first decade of twenty-first century to be three times more vulnerable to mass protest than a hundred years ago. What can explain this trend? This paper relates the stability of newly emerged revolutionary governments to the political composition of the protest that brings a new incumbent to power and in factors that can shape it. Our theoretical model, incorporating protest into a dynamic Downsian framework, features the significant role of protest coordination, communication technology, ideology, and the coercive capacity of the regime. This paper contributes to the literature in several ways. First, it discusses a new historical trend of instability of revolutionary governments. Second, it proposes a model that helps to understand the growing instability of revolutionary regimes, as well as conditions that undermine stability. In equilibrium, it is possible to have a revolutionary government overthrown by popular uprising, despite the fact that it gained power on the wave of popular support. Third, under a set of conditions, the new incumbent would always come from a different part of political spectrum.