We revisit the simultaneous equations model of rebellion, mobilization, grievances and repression proposed by Gurr and Moore (1997). Our main contribution is to clarify and improve on the underlying identification strategy and to emphasize the role played by the institutional environment. Instrumental variables estimates for post-colonial societies reveal that the strength of the state, as proxied empirically by an index of bureaucratic quality, exerts a strong preventive effect on rebellion. On the other hand, working institutions also influence the likelihood of rebellion indirectly, through mobilization. As such, the total net effect of state capacity on rebellion is ambiguous.