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Rain and the Democratic Window of Opportunity

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  • Markus Brückner
  • Antonio Ciccone

Abstract

According to the economic approach to political transitions, transitory negative economic shocks can open a window of opportunity for democratic improvement. Testing the theory requires a source of transitory shocks to the aggregate economy. We use rainfall shocks in Sub-Saharan African countries and find that negative rainfall shocks are followed by significant improvement in democratic institutions. Instrumental variables estimates indicate that following a transitory negative income shock of 1 percent, democracy scores improve by 0.9 percentage points and the probability of a democratic transition increases by 1.3 percentage points.
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  • Markus Brückner & Antonio Ciccone, 2011. "Rain and the Democratic Window of Opportunity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 923-947, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:79:y:2011:i:3:p:923-947
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    JEL classification:

    • O0 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - General
    • P0 - Economic Systems - - General

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