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Explaining Government Response to Protest (Accommodation or Repression): an Institutional Explanation

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Abstract:

Existing explanations of when governments switch between accommodation and repression have focused on protest strategies and regime type, demonstrating that governments switch from accommodation to repression if they perceive their current strategy as ineffective. Also, democracies and autocracies use repression differently. However, we have little that explains the variation that exists within democracies. Why do democratic governments switch between accommodation and repression? These changes in strategy are products of decision making which like any other government decision, is made within the existing institutional structure of the country. The governments making these decisions are made up of one or more political parties and perhaps party coalitions which could have a profound influence on its decision making powers. In this paper, I concentrate on the number of veto players in government and the effects of these on changes between accommodation and repressive strategies used by governments. I argue that governments acting under institutions that encourage more parties to form and participate in government will have a greater the number of veto players which makes it difficult to implement change and thus policies more stable (Tsebelis 2003). This also affects governments’ use of repression and accommodation where governments with a greater number of constituent parties find it more difficult to shift from accommodation to repression as well as the other way around. Institutions like federalism complicate matters further by producing yet another level of veto players that influence these decisions. Thus, it is hypothesized that countries with institutions such as proportional representation systems, parliamentary systems and federalism are less likely to see changes in accommodative and repressive policies than countries with unitary, majoritarian and presidential forms of institutions. I test these hypotheses on a cross-national dataset, IDEA, an events based dataset that allows me to measure the amount of change between levels of accommodation and repression used on an annual basis, by over 50 democracies, between 1980 and 2005.
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Name: ISA's 49th ANNUAL CONVENTION, BRIDGING MULTIPLE DIVIDES
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http://www.isanet.org


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MLA Citation:

Bhasin, Tavishi. "Explaining Government Response to Protest (Accommodation or Repression): an Institutional Explanation" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ISA's 49th ANNUAL CONVENTION, BRIDGING MULTIPLE DIVIDES, Hilton San Francisco, SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA, Mar 26, 2008 <Not Available>. 2016-06-07 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p252588_index.html>

APA Citation:

Bhasin, T. , 2008-03-26 "Explaining Government Response to Protest (Accommodation or Repression): an Institutional Explanation" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ISA's 49th ANNUAL CONVENTION, BRIDGING MULTIPLE DIVIDES, Hilton San Francisco, SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA <Not Available>. 2016-06-07 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p252588_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Existing explanations of when governments switch between accommodation and repression have focused on protest strategies and regime type, demonstrating that governments switch from accommodation to repression if they perceive their current strategy as ineffective. Also, democracies and autocracies use repression differently. However, we have little that explains the variation that exists within democracies. Why do democratic governments switch between accommodation and repression? These changes in strategy are products of decision making which like any other government decision, is made within the existing institutional structure of the country. The governments making these decisions are made up of one or more political parties and perhaps party coalitions which could have a profound influence on its decision making powers. In this paper, I concentrate on the number of veto players in government and the effects of these on changes between accommodation and repressive strategies used by governments. I argue that governments acting under institutions that encourage more parties to form and participate in government will have a greater the number of veto players which makes it difficult to implement change and thus policies more stable (Tsebelis 2003). This also affects governments’ use of repression and accommodation where governments with a greater number of constituent parties find it more difficult to shift from accommodation to repression as well as the other way around. Institutions like federalism complicate matters further by producing yet another level of veto players that influence these decisions. Thus, it is hypothesized that countries with institutions such as proportional representation systems, parliamentary systems and federalism are less likely to see changes in accommodative and repressive policies than countries with unitary, majoritarian and presidential forms of institutions. I test these hypotheses on a cross-national dataset, IDEA, an events based dataset that allows me to measure the amount of change between levels of accommodation and repression used on an annual basis, by over 50 democracies, between 1980 and 2005.


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