Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Violent Backlash to Political Reform: Evidence from Anti-Jewish Pogroms in the 1905 Russian Revolution
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Please join the Harriman Institute for a lecture by Scott Gehlbach. Moderated by Timothy Frye.

Local violence often accompanies moments of momentous political change, as feelings of political threat intersect with preexisting prejudice. In this talk, Scott Gehlbach will examine the relationship between such violence and demographics during the 1905 Russian Revolution, which triggered numerous anti-Jewish pogroms. Often, scholars explain the sharp increase in pogroms after October 1905 by ethnoreligious polarization, but this study shows that the patterns of pogroms are better explained with the Esteban-Ray model of conflict: the political reform instituted by the October Manifesto altered the distribution of benefits in the Russian society.

Scott Gehlbach is the Elise and Jack Lipsey Professor in the Department of Political Science, the Harris School of Public Policy, and the College at the University of Chicago. A scholar of authoritarian and post-authoritarian regimes, much of Gehlbach’s research is motivated by the contemporary and historical experience of Russia and Ukraine. His early work focused on the postcommunist transition in these and neighboring countries—a period of enormous political and economic change that exposed the centrality of institutions and the often divergent effects of similar reforms. More recently, Gehlbach has examined the relationship between reform and rebellion in autocracies, with an empirical focus on late Imperial Russia, and the impact of political connections on economic outcomes using large firm-level datasets from Ukraine. An early and leading practitioner of the use of game theory to model the institutions of authoritarian regimes, Gehlbach is author of the widely used textbook Formal Models of Domestic Politics, now in its second edition.


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