IPP Policy Brief n°39 - April 2019

The Territory of the gilets jaunes

IPP Policy Brief n°39

April 2019

Authors : Pierre C. Boyer, Thomas Delemotte, Germain Gauthier, Vincent Rollet, Benoît Schmutz

Contact : pierre.boyer@polytechnique.edu, benoit.schmutz@polytechnique.edu

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logo-pdf-minThe Territory of the gilets jaunes

 

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Summary :

Where did the “gilets jaunes” protest movement come from? From its first Saturday of action in November 2018, the movement was distinctive for both its local character and its national coverage.
Relying on novel Facebook data, we show that there is a strong correlation between online mobilisation (on Facebook) and offline mobilisation (blockading of roundabouts), and offer a fine-grained and contrasted mapping of the data, at the scale of départements and commuting zones.
By simultaneously controlling for the different political, economic and geographical factors likely to explain the movement’s genesis, we reveal the signicant role played by mobility issues, particularly the speed limit reduction to 80 km/h on secondary roads and commuting distances..

Key points:

  • We seek to identify the determinants of the mobilisation of the “gilets jaunes”.
  • Using data collected on Facebook and the locations of the blockaded roundabouts, we can map the “gilets jaunes” mobilisation online and offline.
  • The 2017 presidential election results, the local share of diesel vehicles and poverty rates among retired people are not strongly correlated with the demonstration.
  • Mobility, however, measured in terms of the exposure to the speed limit reduction to 80 km/h on secondary roads and commuting distances, appears to be an important factor for explaining the movement’s origins.

 


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