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Andrey Korotayev   1, Il'ya Vas'kin 1, Stanislav Bilyuga   2
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation
  • 2 NRU HSE, National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

Olson—Huntington Hypothesis on a Bell-Shaped Relationship Between the Level of Economic Development and Sociopolitical Destabilization: A Quantitative Analysis

2017, vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 9–49 [issue contents]
Our empirical tests generally confirm the validity of the Olson—Huntington hypothesis that suggests a bell-shaped relationship between the levels of economic development and socio-political instability. According to this hypothesis, lower values of average per capita income tends to lead to increased risks of sociopolitical destabilization (a positive correlation), while a decrease of sociopolitical destabilization risks correlates with higher levels of per capita income (a negative correlation). However, our analysis has shown that this curvilinear relationship can be quite different in some important details for various indices of sociopolitical destabilization, with a very important exception. We show that the relationship between per capita GDP and the intensity of coups and coup attempts is not curvilinear; a particularly strong negative correlation between this index and the logarithm of GDP per capita exists. We demonstrate that this fact makes the bell-shaped relationship considerably less distinct with respect to the integral index of sociopolitical destabilization, and makes a significant contribution to the formation of its asymmetry. Our analysis also shows that the bell-shaped relationship assumed by the Olson—Huntington hypothesis is observed for all other indices of sociopolitical destabilization. In relation to such indices as political strikes, riots, and anti-government demonstrations, we deal with an asymmetry that is directly opposite, since a positive correlation between GDP and instability for poorer countries is much stronger than the negative correlation for richer countries. An especially strong asymmetry of this kind is found for the intensity of anti-government demonstrations.
Citation: Korotayev A., Vas'kin I., Bilyuga S. (2017) Gipoteza Olsona—Khantingtona o krivolineynoy zavisimosti mezhdu urovnem ekonomicheskogo razvitiya i sotsial'no-politicheskoy destabilizatsiey: opyt kolichestvennogo analiza [Olson—Huntington Hypothesis on a Bell-Shaped Relationship Between the Level of Economic Development and Sociopolitical Destabilization: A Quantitative Analysis]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 16, no 1, pp. 9-49 (in Russian)
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