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The Power of Words: State Reactions to Protest Announcements

Organizations often announce their protest activities prior to their implementation to mobilize awareness, recruit supporters, and receive media attention. We are interested in the effectiveness of protest announcements—that is, under what conditions governments make concessions to avoid having an announced protest take place.

Johannes Vüllers & Elisa schwarz
15 June 2018

Governments assess the costs and benefits of providing concessions by taking into account the level of credible threat of the announced protest and the costs related to concessions. We test these assumptions with a unique data set on protest announcements and concessions in Nepal (2007-2010). Using cross-sectional regressions, we demonstrate that protest announcements by unions, announcements with highly threatening tactics and announcements with minimal demands will bring about concessions from the government. We contribute to the growing literature on different protest tactics by providing systematic empirical evidence, for the first time, on the effectiveness of mere protest announcements.

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