UNDERSTANDING THE LINK BETWEEN FREEDOM AND ECONOMIC GROWTH ON UNREST
Yeamans, Canyon C.
Warren, Timothy C.
Burks, Robert E.
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Civil and military planners must account for innumerable variables affecting stability in a region. While extensive research has been conducted on causes of violence, much remains unknown about the factors that affect the levels of unrest experienced in different societies. To help to address this gap, this thesis explores the link between economic growth and political freedom and their reinforcing effects on the suppression of violent unrest, while tailoring the empirical approach for use by civil and military planners. Based on a cross-national statistical analysis of levels of unrest, the evidence shows that countries with low levels of freedom but high levels of economic growth are able to partially offset the conflict promoting effects of their restrictions, when compared to countries with higher levels of freedom. The evidence also shows that economic inequality and electoral authoritarianism can increase the pacifying effects of government efforts to suppress unrest, highlighting the sometimes contradictory effects of rising economic prospects alongside reductions in civil freedoms and heightened concentrations of economic and political power. Planners may use these findings and this framework to examine potential drivers of unrest in their area of responsibility. This thesis also provides a baseline framework for empirical analysis of conflict drivers, which can provide a basis for planners to build upon with expanded data sources as they become available.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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