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Droughts of Dismay: Rainfall and Assassinations in Ancient Rome

Author

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  • Cornelius Christian

    () (Department of Economics, Brock University)

  • Liam Elbourne

    (St. Francis Xavier University)

Abstract

We find that lower rainfall in north-central Europe (Gaul/Germania) predicts more assassinations of Roman emperors from 27 BC to 476 AD. Due to agricultural pressures on Germanic tribes, low precipitation caused more barbarian raids. These raids, in turn, weakened the Empire’s overall political stability, and reduced the costs of assassinating an emperor. We buttress our empirical analysis with case study evidence.

Suggested Citation

  • Cornelius Christian & Liam Elbourne, 2017. "Droughts of Dismay: Rainfall and Assassinations in Ancient Rome," Working Papers 1703, Brock University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:brk:wpaper:1703
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    File URL: https://brocku.ca/repec/pdf/1703.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:wly:econjl:v:127:y:2017:i:602:p:924-958 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Oeindrila Dube & Juan F. Vargas, 2013. "Commodity Price Shocks and Civil Conflict: Evidence from Colombia," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1384-1421.
    3. Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath & Ernest Sergenti, 2004. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 725-753, August.
    4. Jha, Saumitra, 2008. "Trade, Institutions and Religious Tolerance: Evidence from India," Research Papers 2004, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Environmental Shocks and their Effects on Imperial Rome’s State Capacity
      by Fernando Arteaga in NEP-HIS blog on 2017-11-08 07:30:39

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