Theresa Finley, Raphael Franck, Noel Johnson, Stelios Michalopoulos, 02 December 2017

Political revolutions often bring swift regime change leading to short-run economic change, but the long-term consequences are less clear. Some argue that revolutions pave the way for capitalist market growth, while others argue they are only political in nature with limited economic consequence. This column uses extensive evidence from the French Revolution to show that the effects vary across the country and over time. The analysis speaks to questions of concern to developing countries regarding the relationship between institutional change, inequality, and long-run economic development. 

David Galenson, 08 October 2017

The abstract expressionists revolutionised the art world in the late 1940s, only to be displaced by the pop art revolution less than two decades later. This column uses auction price data to explore the life cycles of major painters from the two groups. The abstract expressionists were much older when they produced their peak value works, while the pop artists tended to be most productive in their twenties. The findings provide a systematic basis for dating these revolutions in art markets.

Toke Aidt, Gabriel Leon, Raphael Franck, Peter Jensen, 08 January 2015

Some theories suggest that the threat of revolution plays a pivotal role in democratisation. This column provides new evidence in support of this hypothesis. The authors use democratic transitions from Europe in the 19th century, Africa at the turn at the 20th century, and the Great Reform Act of 1832 in Great Britain. They find that credible threats of revolution have systematically triggered pre-emptive democratic reforms throughout history.

Chris Ellis, John Fender, 26 October 2011

For the Arab Spring it was Twitter; for the summer riots in London it was BlackBerry Messenger. This column explores how the latest technology is helping to accelerate ‘information cascades’, where people make decisions based on what they see other people doing – and getting away with.

Uwe Sunde, Piergiuseppe Fortunato, Matteo Cervellati, 26 March 2011

The mass movement for democracy that has led to the exile of Ben Ali in Tunisia paved the way to a new awakening and raised many hopes in North Africa and the Middle East. This column reports on recent research on the historical experiences of countries that democratised during the “third wave”, to shed some light on the prospects for the future of the Arab region.

Konstantin Sonin, 09 August 2008

Stalin’s mass killings are often viewed as the acts of a deranged dictator. This column suggests that such violence may have been the Soviet leader’s rational attempt to avoid losing power in a revolution.

Events