Although social scientists have written extensively on revolutions,
none of their theories has shown much predictive success in practice. Recent
revolutions surprised social scientists as much as anyone else. This article
proposes that revolutionary surprises will occur repeatedly, although it
is possible to identify countries relatively likely to experience a sudden
explosion. The argument hinges on preference falsification—the act of misrepresenting
one's preferences under perceived social pressures. By falsifying their
preferences with regard to the incumbent regime, disgruntled citizens distort
perceptions of the potential for political change. The article's key proposition
may be refuted by building a model that successfully predicts when and
where revolutions will occur.
American Journal of Sociology, 100 (May 1995): 1528-1551.