Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Austerity and Unrest

Timing is everything, and these two scholars are impeccable in their timing, producing a study of the relation between austerity and unrest just as London is consumed by riots.

We look at five different types of instability – anti-government demonstrations, riots, assassinations, general strikes, and attempted revolutions – in Europe over the period 1919-2009. The data comes from a large-scale international data collection (Banks 1994), and is based on an analysis of reporting in the New York Times. The individual indicators are then aggregated by summing them up for each country and year. This gives the variable called CHAOS. Figure 1 shows how it evolved over time since 1919, presenting the mean and the maximum. The interwar years show a high level of unrest, as does the immediate post-World War II era, and the period from 1970 to the early 1990s.

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