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Can extreme rainfall trigger democratic change? The role of flood-induced corruption
journal contributionposted on 01.06.2017, 00:00 authored by Md Habibur Rahman, Nejat AnbarciNejat Anbarci, Prasad BhattacharyaPrasad Bhattacharya, Mehmet UlubasogluMehmet Ulubasoglu
Using a new dataset of extreme rainfall covering 130 countries from 1979 to 2009, this paper investigates whether and how extreme rainfall-driven flooding affects democratic conditions. Our key finding indicates that extreme rainfall-induced flooding exerts two opposing effects on democracy. On one hand, flooding leads to corruption in the chains of emergency relief distribution and other post-disaster assistance, which in turn impels the citizenry to demand more democracy. On the other hand, flooding induces autocratic tendencies in incumbent regimes because efficient post-disaster management with no dissent, chaos or plunder might require government to undertake repressive actions. The net estimated effect is an improvement in democratic conditions.