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Ulric B. and Evelyn L. Bray Social Sciences Seminar

Wednesday, April 17, 2024
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Baxter B125
Violent Backlash to Political Reform: Evidence from Anti-Jewish Pogroms in the 1905 Russian Revolution
Scott Gehlbach, Elise and Jack Lipsey Professor, Department of Political Science, Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago,

Abstract: Local violence often accompanies moments of momentous political change, as feelings of political threat intersect with preexisting prejudice to endanger groups popularly associated with reform. We examine the relationship between such violence and demographics in the context of the 1905 Russian Revolution, which triggered numerous anti-Jewish pogroms. Counter to an extensive literature that emphasizes the contribution to conflict of ethnoreligious polarization, we show that the sharp increase in pogroms after October 1905, when publication of the October Manifesto and accompanying anti-Semitic propaganda increased feelings of political threat among many non-Jews, was smaller in settlements with relatively large Jewish populations. We demonstrate that this empirical pattern can be rationalized with the Esteban-Ray (2008) model of conflict when, as with the October Manifesto, political reform systematically alters the distribution of benefits across groups.

Written with Paul CastaƱeda Dower, Dmitrii Kofanov, Steven Nafziger, and Vladimir Novikov.

For more information, please contact Letty Diaz by phone at 626-395-1255 or by email at [email protected].