Income Inequality, Equity and State Terror, 1976-2016
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The question of inequality and political violence is hotly debated. While some suggest that inequality leads to grievance-based violence, others suggest opportunity to dissent is what matters. Rather than large armed violence that is rare, we use political repression, or one-sided violence, to test propositions about inequality´s role in the dissent-repression nexus. Using several measures of property inequality and equity, defined as equal access to political power and public goods, we find that inequality and equity matter for predicting political repression. The substantive effects of equity, however, are far greater than that of income inequality. We find only very small substantive effects of horizontal inequality measured as ethnic exclusion and discrimination on state repression, and these effects surprisingly are conditioned positively by strong democracy. These findings raise questions about horizontal inequality and grievance-based rebellion because increasing democracy should allow less repression of grievancebased dissent. The results are robust to the inclusion of several relevant controls, alternative specifications, estimating method, and dependent variables measuring repression.