What drives violent confrontation between groups in multi-ethnic and multi-confessional societies? Why do some communities in such societies experience conflict, while others remain peaceful? We explore these questions in the context of the 1905 Russian Revolution, which triggered numerous anti-Jewish pogroms. We show that the sharp increase in pogroms after October 1905, when publication of the October Manifesto and accompanying antisemitic propaganda increased feelings of political threat among many non-Jews, was smaller in settlements with relatively large Jewish populations. Our findings suggest that diversity can help to insulate communities from the violence that often accompanies momentous political change.
Scott Gehlbach is a professor in the Department of Political Science and Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. A political economist and comparativist, Gehlbach’s work is motivated by the contemporary and historical experience of Russia, Ukraine, and other postcommunist states. He has made numerous contributions to the study of autocracy, economic reform, political connections, and other important topics in political economy. Known for employing a wide range of methods in his research, Gehlbach has contributed to graduate education through his widely used textbook Formal Models of Domestic Politics. He is the author or coauthor of many articles in top journals, including the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, and the Journal of Politics; the award-winning monograph Representation Through Taxation: Revenue, Politics, and Development in Postcommunist States; and the forthcoming Cambridge Element Reform and Rebellion in Weak States.