Why Do People Engage in Unlawful Political Protest? Examining the Role of Authoritarianism in Illegal Protest Behavior

Isabel Inguanzo, Araceli Mateos, Homero Gil de Zúñiga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Prior research on individual-level drivers of protest has primarily focused on legal protest. However, less is known about what makes people engage in unlawful protest activities. Building upon previous literature on the collective action dilemma, socialization on violent and high-risk social movements, and political psychology, we expect that illegal protest frequency varies at different levels of authoritarianism. We explore the relationship between authoritarian values and illegal protest by analyzing a two-wave panel survey data gathered in the US. The results of cross-sectional, lagged, and autoregressive ordinary least squares (OLS) regression models show that when controlling for legal protest and other relevant variables in protest behavior, authoritarianism predicts illegal protest following an inverted U-shaped relationship. In other words, average levels of authoritarianism predict more frequent engagement in illegal protest, while this frequency decreases as approaching the poles of the authoritarianism scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-440
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Politics Research
Volume50
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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