, Volume 97, Issue 4, pp 535-567

Equilibria of collective action in different distributions of protest thresholds

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Abstract

To understand why political protests show the effects of tipping over into revolution – effects that stun observers, participants, and even the opposition or incumbent government – scholars have constructed threshold models of revolt to illustrate that an important feature of collective rebellion is people deciding to join based on knowing how many others have already participated. I conduct equilibrium analyses to observe the effects of normal, bimodal, and skewed distributions of thresholds upon the dynamics of opposition movements. The results shed some light on how various patterns of domestic confrontation affect the outcome of collective dissent.