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Extremism in revolutionary movements

Mehdi Shadmehr

Games and Economic Behavior, 2015, vol. 94, issue C, 97-121

Abstract: A revolutionary entrepreneur strategically chooses the revolutionary agenda to maximize the likelihood of revolution. Citizens have different preferences and can contribute varying degrees of support. We show: (1) Extremists exert a disproportionate influence over the revolutionary agenda; (2) Depending on the structure of repression, more severe repression can moderate or radicalize the revolutionary agenda. Specifically, increases in the “minimum punishment” (marginal cost of revolutionary effort at its minimum) radicalize the revolutionary agenda. This presents the elite with a tradeoff between extreme but unlikely revolutions and moderate but likely ones. (3) Competition between revolutionary entrepreneurs can radicalize the revolutionary agenda.

Keywords: Revolution; Revolutionary entrepreneurs; Extremism; Repression; Repression backlash; Competition (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D74 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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