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date: 24 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article studies how social protest contributes to institutional reforms in both new and established democracies. It evaluates the effects of social protest on changes in the protection of workers’ rights, women’s political rights, and the ability of other branches of government to constrain chief executives. Three important findings emerge in this regard: (1) strikes promote workers’ rights, (2) general strikes advance women’s political rights in the presence of an independent judiciary, and (3) antigovernment demonstrations constrain executives, while riots empower them when the government is cohesive. Regarding the mechanisms behind these changes, the analysis reveals that whereas the effects of strikes on workers’ rights are not institutionally mediated, general strikes can affect women’s political rights indirectly through the institution of an independent judiciary. Antigovernment demonstrations and riots can likewise affect executive constraints indirectly, through the behavior of actors in other branches of government.

Keywords: social protest, institutional reforms, democracy, strikes, demonstrations

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