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The Shocking Origins of Political Transitions: Evidence from Earthquakes

Habibur Rahman, M.; Anbarci, N.; Bhattacharya, P.S.; Ulubaşoğlu, M.A.

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Authors

M. Habibur Rahman

P.S. Bhattacharya

M.A. Ulubaşoğlu



Contributors

Abstract

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.

Citation

Habibur Rahman, M., Anbarci, N., Bhattacharya, P., & Ulubaşoğlu, M. (2017). The Shocking Origins of Political Transitions: Evidence from Earthquakes. Southern Economic Journal, 83(3), 796-823. https://doi.org/10.1002/soej.12180

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 1, 2016
Online Publication Date Dec 5, 2016
Publication Date Jan 1, 2017
Deposit Date Aug 16, 2018
Publicly Available Date Dec 5, 2018
Journal Southern Economic Journal
Print ISSN 0038-4038
Electronic ISSN 2325-8012
Publisher Southern Economic Association
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 83
Issue 3
Pages 796-823
DOI https://doi.org/10.1002/soej.12180
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1317196

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Copyright Statement
This is the accepted version of the following article: Habibur Rahman, M., Anbarci, N., Bhattacharya, P. S. & Ulubaşoğlu, M. A. (2017). The Shocking Origins of Political Transitions: Evidence from Earthquakes. Southern Economic Journal 83(3): 796-823 which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/soej.12180. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.





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