This essay presents how, during the Indochinese revolutionary wars of the 1960s and 1970s, the traditional image of rebels inspired by moral causes or socioeconomic grievances was superseded by an image of purely materialistic, rational insurgents. Economists studied revolutions from two different traditions: the systems analysis perspective of the RAND Corporation and the rational choice analysis from the public choice school of Virginia. We situate their views with reference to explanations offered by other social scientists, especially modernization and relative deprivation theorists, as well as Marxist scholars to show how, from 1965 to 1975, economists' approach to revolutions gained momentum among social scientists.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.