Costly participation : occurrence of hunger strikes by regime type




Smith, Katy, M.A.

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Where do we see more protests? Scholars are split on whether protests occur more in democracies or autocracies. Democratic institutions both encourage and replace the need for demonstrations. Autocracies present a need to protest, but instill fear of retaliation. Some of the shortcomings in past studies on the subject include looking at only one type of protest, focusing on one measurement of protest, and selecting on the dependent variable- only studying where protests occur. To adjudicate this impasse and fill these gaps, I focus on hunger strikes, measuring both frequency and number of participants. In this paper, I introduce a new dataset of hunger strikes across Asia from 1990-2020, including countries and years where no hunger strikes are reported. Results show a positive relationship between democracy level and number of participants in hunger strikes. Difference in democracy measure highlights the mechanisms within democratic institutions that encourage protests.



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