Jesse Shapiro (Alesina Seminar)


Thursday, February 24, 2022, 4:30pm to 5:45pm


CGIS Knafel, room K354

Today's Speaker

Jesse M. Shapiro (HBS), "Measuring the Tolerance of the State: Theory and Application to Protest" (paper available here)


We develop a measure of a regime’s tolerance for an action by its citizens. We ground our measure in an economic model and apply it to the setting of political protest. In the model, a regime anticipating a protest can take a costly action to repress it. We define the regime’s tolerance as the ratio of its cost of repression to its cost of protest. Because an intolerant regime will engage in repression whenever protest is sufficiently likely, a regime’s tolerance determines the maximum equilibrium probability of protest. Tolerance can therefore be identified from the distribution of protest probabilities. We construct a novel cross-national database of protest occurrence and protest predictors, and apply machine-learning methods to estimate protest probabilities. We use the estimated protest probabilities to form a measure of tolerance at the country, country-year, and country-month levels. We apply the measure to questions of interest.

Co-sponsored by FAS and IQSS, the Program on Political Economy (PE) supports research-related activities that integrate the study of economics and politics, whether by studying economic behavior in the political process or political behavior in the marketplace. In general, positive political economy is concerned with showing how observed differences among institutions affect political and economic outcomes in various social, economic, and political systems and how the institutions themselves change and develop in response to individual and collective beliefs, preferences, and strategies.

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See the seminar's full schedule at the Program on Political Economy page.

All interested faculty and students are invited to attend.