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The Macroeconomic Impact of Social Unrest

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The Macroeconomic Impact of Social Unrest


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Perhaps unsurprisingly, research shows that a country’s social discord can negatively affect its economy. 

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According to new research, “social unrest events” around the world – riots, strikes and protests – increased an astronomical 244% over the period 2011–2019. This strife has powerful impacts on the integrity of society in general, but the friction also carries with it troubling concerns about economic growth and prosperity. Analysts Metodij Hadzi-Vaskov, Samuel Pienknagura and Luca Antonio Ricci astutely assess the financial damage that social unrest inflicts on economies. Policy experts, economists and investors will find robust scholarship in this illuminating report.


Social disturbances have adverse consequences on nations’ economic performance.

Social strife around the world carries not only serious societal implications but also affects economic vigor. Experts investigating connections between civil disturbances and GDP examined fluctuations in the Reported Social Unrest Index (RSUI) across 89 advanced and emerging countries from 1990 to 2019.

Increases in a country’s RSUI indicate setbacks to its economy. Following a typical civil protest, GDP contracts immediately by 0.15 percentage points, and after six quarters, it remains 0...

About the Authors

Metodij Hadzi-Vaskov, Samuel Pienknagura, and Luca Antonio Ricci are professionals at the International Monetary Fund.

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