Patience, Dynamic of Protest, and Democratic Consolidation
European Political Science
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Protests on the street may last weeks or even months. Why do some people join protests against government wrongdoing on day one while others wait weeks to do so? This article suggests that delay discounting—an important personal trait that decides how much people discount the future pay-off—determines when an individual joins a protest. An analysis of the 2007 Ukrainian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey reveals that Ukrainians who discounted the future less were much more likely to join the Orange Revolution right after the electoral irregularities of the 2004 run-off election. Weeks passed as they waited in the snow for the Supreme Court required rerun. In contrast, impatient citizens joined the protest several days after the scandal broke. Additional evidence based on a cross-country survey shows that lower levels of delay discounting help explain the consolidation of democracy over time. This evidence linking delay discounting and political participation supports the concept of self-enforcing democracy and helps us understand the conditions under which a democracy may be in peril.
Delay discounting; Patience; Democratic consolidation; Orange revolution; Protest
Wang, A. H.
Patience, Dynamic of Protest, and Democratic Consolidation.
European Political Science, 18(3),