The economic impact of political instability and mass civil protest

Samer Matta, Michael Bleaney, Simon Appleton

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


An extensive literature has examined the economic effects of non-violent political instability events. Nonetheless, the issue of whether economies react differently over time to such events remains largely unexplored. Using synthetic control methodology, which constructs a counterfactual in the absence of political instability, we estimate the output effect of 38 regime crises in the period 1970–2011. A crucial factor is whether crises are accompanied by mass civil protest. In the crises accompanied by mass civil protest, there is typically an immediate fall in output which is never recovered in the subsequent five years. In crises unaccompanied by protest, there are usually no significant output effects. It is unclear, however, whether mass civil protest causes the greater fall in output or is simply an indicator of a more severe political crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-270
Number of pages18
JournalEconomics and Politics
Issue number1
Early online date27 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished Online - 27 Jul 2021


  • civil protest
  • economic crisis
  • economic recovery
  • political instability
  • synthetic control method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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