Public Choice

, Volume 175, Issue 1–2, pp 63–93 | Cite as

Youth bulges, insurrections and labor-market restrictions

Article
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Abstract

This paper analyzes the link between large youth cohorts and violent conflicts when labor-market restrictions are present. Such restrictions are expected to limit the youth cohort’s access to income opportunities in the formal economy, and thus lower the youth-specific opportunity cost of insurrection activities. We develop a theoretical model of insurrection markets and integrate the youth cohort’s relative size. In equilibrium, a binding labor-market constraint interacts with the youth bulge in determining the level of insurrection activities within the society. We test the implications of our model on a sample of 135 non-OECD countries in the post-Cold War period and find the effect of the youth cohort’s relative size on conflict onsets to be moderated by changes in the labor-market conditions as measured by unemployment rates. Generally, the results provide evidence that the underlying institutional setting shapes the conflict potential inherent in a given demographic structure.

Keywords

Youth bulges Demography Insurrections Political economy of revolutions 

JEL Classification

H56 J10 J22 P16 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Roger Congleton and Randall Holcombe for helpful discussions at the 2016 Meeting of the Public Choice Society, as well as to the anonymous referees and the editor in charge of our submission, William Shughart II, for unusually constructive comments. We also thank Rahel Schomaker and Dirk Wentzel for insightful discussions at early stages of the project. Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the 2016 Meeting of the European Public Choice Society and the 2015 Meeting of the German Economic Association.

Supplementary material

11127_2018_514_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (223 kb)
An online appendix of additional empirical results is available from the corresponding author's website (www.wiwi.uni-muenster.de/loep/en/people/thomas-apolte). (PDF 223 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Interdisciplinary EconomicsUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany

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