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Patience, dynamic of protest, and democratic consolidation

Abstract

Protests on the street may last weeks or even months. Why do some people join protests against government wrongdoing on day one while others wait weeks to do so? This article suggests that delay discounting—an important personal trait that decides how much people discount the future pay-off—determines when an individual joins a protest. An analysis of the 2007 Ukrainian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey reveals that Ukrainians who discounted the future less were much more likely to join the Orange Revolution right after the electoral irregularities of the 2004 run-off election. Weeks passed as they waited in the snow for the Supreme Court required rerun. In contrast, impatient citizens joined the protest several days after the scandal broke. Additional evidence based on a cross-country survey shows that lower levels of delay discounting help explain the consolidation of democracy over time. This evidence linking delay discounting and political participation supports the concept of self-enforcing democracy and helps us understand the conditions under which a democracy may be in peril.

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Notes

  1. Orange Revolution Documentary Film THE ORANGE CHRONICLES short version by Damian Kolodiy, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOYzlqJQu74, Access: 23 May 2017.

  2. Viktor Yushchenko_The Orange Revolution by The Freedom Collection, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQVWcMJpFng, Access: 22 May 2017.

  3. The respondents can list three thoughts in the survey.

  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZLmE1OW2nU Access: 20 May 2017.

  5. https://idsc.iza.org/?page=27\&id=56, Access: 06 August 2016.

  6. $1000 Hryvnias was about USD $186.10 in 2004.

  7. I really appreciate Reviewer 2 for this helpful comment.

  8. In the analysis of ULMS2007, I only use the one-parameter model of delay discounting because the time point of the battery did not vary; that is, the time difference between the near and later option is fixed at 1 year. Therefore, it is impossible to distinguish between δ and β mathematically.

  9. http://www.systemicpeace.org/inscrdata.html Access: October 15, 2015.

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Correspondence to Austin Horng-En Wang.

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Wang, A.HE. Patience, dynamic of protest, and democratic consolidation. Eur Polit Sci 18, 473–490 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41304-018-0177-4

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Keywords

  • Delay discounting
  • Patience
  • Democratic consolidation
  • Orange revolution
  • Protest