Since the 1980s, spending cuts no longer cause riots

Interestingly, though, since the late 80s, this relationship has broken up and vanished. According to the results, in modern, industrial societies, there is no longer any palpable link between spending cuts and rioting.

In fact there is a correlation in the opposite direction, though it is not statistically significant.  Here is much more, about the study which everyone is citing.  It doesn’t show what people are saying it shows, unless they see today as like 1926.  Arguably the democratization of Eastern Europe is a key factor in changing the results.

Here is a new (short) Ed Glaeser piece on riots.


i'm sorry but this rough and ready statistical correlation does not disprove those who think spending cuts are related to the rioting. their are various socio-historical reasons that can explain the suppressing of destructive impulses among unemployed and working class people during times of austerity that still leave spending cuts as a partial cause of the rioting. this isn't to say the connection isn't arguable or refutable, just that i think this doesn't do the job.

It may have been the great moderation and now that that is gone we are back to trend. However, austerity has causes. So, rioting is a correlate. The researchers claim to have controlled for recessions without austerity, but worse recessions have worse austerity.

its sad there there has become a divided population in the uk now lots of work to be done to fix the problems there

Unbelievably crappy reasoning. So, next time we have a riot let's cut all aid to that city; maybe we could starve the rioters out? And what's with slicing and dicing a time series till we can get a data-window that supports the conclusions we like.

Huh? The post merely questions the conventional wisdom that the riots were caused by spending cuts. It doesn't imply that the reverse is true, nor does it suggest that any of this is a prescription for response to the riots.

What "slicing and dicing"? There's a structure break about 1980. That's an artifact of the data, not an arbitrary choice selected to support the conclusion one likes.

There was a pretty clear cut case of rioting against "austerity" (we're now to use that term to describe marginally slower growth in the rate of spending) in the form of protests against cuts to student aid programs in the UK. This most recent riot is pretty clearly not due to austerity, but rather perceived police brutality.

If there actually is a connection between "austerity" programs and rioting, will the left apologize for contributing to a "climate of hate" with their "toxic rhetoric" about austerity? Or does it only count as political violence when Tea Partiers can be blamed (however inaccurately)?

Tyler posted about that a while back: The intellectual who vaguely hints that there will be unrest due to some populist grievance.

Look, maybe there isn't a strong connection in general between spending cuts and rioting, but that says absolutely nothing about this particular case. Clearly the austerity cuts play a part in the unrest England is feeling. It's foolish to say that it's the only cause, but to dismiss it entirely because of some week correlation going the other way is just as foolish.

Don't forget the role of demographics. Demographics is behind the Arab Spring, demographics is behind the riots in France and UK, demographics explain the general population acceptance of spending cuts

The lesson: Go austerity early.

The largest concentration of riots in America in my lifetime was from 1965-1968, just as Great Society spending was exploding.

Or, as expectations of blacks were rising, only to be frustrated by reality.

OH, you and your confounding variables!

There was a big riot in Chicago in 1992 after the Bulls won their second championship. Most of the damage was done in the 'hood, but white yuppies looted coffee table art books from the superb Stuart Brent bookstore on Michigan Ave., where I used to see Saul Bellow browsing.

La ganancia del capital financiero ha hecho mas ricos a los pocos ricos y mas pobres a millones de pobres.Eso ha hecho desaparecer sociedades igualitarias hasta en ee.uuu.Por eso la dificultad de aprobar el techo d ela deuda. Los grupos financieros se resisten a los recortes.Asi no se crea empleo y se atenta con la produccion.Por lo tantohay mas gente desocupada y alli empiezan los disturbios.Hay que cambiar a un capitalismo donde la produccion sea mas importante que las finanzas.

Genuine comment or Spanish spam?

Good, now we can cut the salaries at GMU.

Correlation proves causation if and only if the causation supports one's religious beliefs. That is a defining feature of the zealots from the Church of Democrats and the Church of Republicans.

Of course spending cuts don't cause rioting.

They cause global warming.

If you're going to link to discussions about the Democrat Talking Point of the Week, you could at least try to keep them straight.

"Even in normal times, alcohol-fuelled street disorder is commonplace across urban Britain at weekends." -

This is a uniquely different time......

The financial asset class with the greatest market value and greatest global participation is the US debt instrument.

Look at the weekly charts. Equities are in the midst of a nonlinear collapse. US debt instruments are the recipients of that nonlinear collapse and are in nonlinear growth going to 150 year low interest rates.

For fifty years western debt expansion has been offset by asset and wage inflation allowing further debt expansion. While there are natural saturation limits to this process, the world macroeconomy with the new Asian labor force participation has reached a supersaturation point.

There is now a defacto consensus among US (and eurobond) debt holders that austerity is needed to maintain the quality of US debt. Qualitatively further debt expansion which drives the real global economy is dead. The deceleration in global GDP will be nonlinear. France’s quarterly GDP is one of the canaries in the coal mine. Equities are undergoing exquisitely predictable Lammert quantitative fractal collapse. The daily pattern is 3/8/4 of 6-8/5 days.

There is now a defacto consensus among US (and eurobond) debt holders that austerity is needed to maintain the quality of US debt.

Here in the U.S., the response to that reality was the Tea Party movement. 2012 will tell us whether they are sufficient to the task.

Read this post

There's a very simple reason, which is that people who are not hungry generally do not riot, and the increase in living standards had reached a point by the 1980s were virtually no one goes hungry.

Britain has managed to create an exception to this rule by reducing the incentives against riot to the point where people see it as a form of entertainment.

The looters want loot!

Don't make this so complicated. Underclass proles see opportunity to steal things they want, and they do. Politics, morality, idealogy, there is no greater meaning.

The London riots seemed to be more of a sport riot than a protest. I know it may have started as a protest but just look at the people they have arrested... These were young people 'looking for fun'. Some people were linking the riots to school vacation! I don't see how austerity has anything to do with that.

If anything this is probably caused by decades of liberal policy which have destroyed summer jobs for the youth.

What about the English riots, perpetrated in anticipation that there might perhaps be future cuts in the rate of increase in government spending? Maybe one of the gangs is called The Second Derivatives. Or maybe not.

It seems clear to me that sufficiently large cuts in government spending will cause riots regardless of whether this is the case in the U.K. (maybe not) or Greece (almost certainly.) However, many commentators seem to imply the conclusion that cuts should not occur to avoid riots. In reality, cuts will occur now, or they will occur later on an even larger scale.

Andrew has it right.
The lesson: Go austerity early.

Seems like recent protests in the Eurozone, the US and the Middle East directly contradict this claim.

Austerity is a hoax meant to disempower a presumably weak lower class. The solution: control your own currency and print it to make up for deficits. The notion that money is made out of thin air is fraudulent: today, we have a contractionary monetary policy which can't meet the needs of expanding debt.

"control your own currency and print it to make up for deficits. The notion that money is made out of thin air is fraudulent:"

Of course it's not thin air, if it is printed then it is paper and ink.

Of course looting is the result of Liberal welfare policies...........they use children and the elderly as human shields with key words like hunger, education, sick, depraved....etc.....keep people divided by class........and keep getting elected the
invisible ball an chain on the weak and vulnerable........I call it.........THE DEMOCRATIC LIBERAL ECONOMIC PEDOPHILE SYNDROME.........

i think an alternative measurement of austerity and rioting is in order. and here it is! note that unlike in the article above the academic researchers here make no claims about causation

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