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The shocking origins of political transitions: evidence from earthquakes

Rahman, Muhammad Habibur, Anbarci, Nejat, Bhattacharya, Prasad Sankar and Ulubaşoğlu, Mehmet Ali 2016, The shocking origins of political transitions: evidence from earthquakes, Southern Economic Journal, vol. In Press, pp. 1-28, doi: 10.1002/soej.12180.

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Title The shocking origins of political transitions: evidence from earthquakes
Author(s) Rahman, Muhammad Habibur
Anbarci, Nejat
Bhattacharya, Prasad Sankar
Ulubaşoğlu, Mehmet Ali
Journal name Southern Economic Journal
Volume number In Press
Start page 1
End page 28
Total pages 28
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Place of publication Chichester, Eng.
Publication date 2016-12-05
ISSN 0038-4038
Summary Do earthquakes trigger political transitions? Using a rich panel dataset of 160 countries observed over 1950-2007, we find that earthquake shocks, measured in terms of the effect of ground-motion amplitude on death toll, have two contradicting effects on political change. On the one hand, earthquakes drive transitions into democracy due to an affective shock, which we interpret to be the reaction of citizens by which they hold the incumbent government responsible for earthquake damages. On the other hand, earthquakes indirectly hasten transitions into a less democratic regime because they increase the income level contemporaneously, possibly due to short-term emergency response and recovery expenditures, and thus, raising the opportunity cost of contesting the incumbent government. Overall, we show that, while not leading to a full-fledged regime transition, earthquake shocks open a new democratic window of opportunity, but this window is narrowed by improved economic conditions.
Language eng
DOI 10.1002/soej.12180
Field of Research 140202 Economic Development and Growth
Socio Economic Objective 910103 Economic Growth
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Southern Economic Association
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Department of Economics
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