Political protest is seemingly a ubiquitous aspect of politics in advanced industrial societies, and its use may be spreading to less developed nations as well. Our research tests several rival theories of protest activity for citizens across an exceptionally wide range of polities. With data from the 1999–2002 wave of the World Values Survey, we demonstrate that the macro-level context – levels of economic and political development – significantly influences the amount of popular protest. Furthermore, a multi-level model examines how national context interacts with the micro-level predictors of protest activity. The findings indicate that contemporary protest is expanding not because of increasing dissatisfaction with government, but because economic and political development provide the resources for those who have political demands.
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