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Irrigation and Autocracy

Author

Listed:
  • Jeanet Sinding Bentzen

    (Department of Economics)

  • Nicolai Kaarsen

    (Department of Economics)

  • Asger Moll Wingender

    (Department of Economics)

Abstract

We show that societies with a history of irrigation-based agriculture have been less likely to adopt democracy than societies with a history of rainfed agriculture. Rather than actual irrigation, the empirical analysis is based on how much irrigation potentially can increase yields. Irrigation potential is derived from a range of exogenous geographic factors, and reverse causality is therefore ruled out. Our results hold both at the cross-country level, and at the subnational level in premodern societies surveyed by ethnographers.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeanet Sinding Bentzen & Nicolai Kaarsen & Asger Moll Wingender, 2012. "Irrigation and Autocracy," Discussion Papers 12-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1206
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The impact of irrigation on democratization
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-08-29 20:01:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Litina, Anastasia, 2012. "Unfavorable land endowment, cooperation, and reversal of fortune," MPRA Paper 39702, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Manuel Santos Silva & Amy C. Alexander & Stephan Klasen & Christian Welzel, 2017. "The Roots of Female Emancipation: From Perennial Cool Water via Pre-industrial Late Marriages to Post-industrial Gender Equality," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 241, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    3. Roberto Ricciuti & Adelaide Baronchelli, 2018. "Climate change, rice production, and migration in Vietnamese households," WIDER Working Paper Series 86, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Mayshar, Joram & Moav, Omer & Neeman, Zvika, 2017. "Geography, Transparency, and Institutions," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 622-636, August.
    5. Oded Galor & Marc Klemp, 2015. "Roots of Autocracy," Working Papers 2015-7, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    6. Anastasia Litina, 2016. "Natural land productivity, cooperation and comparative development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 351-408, December.
    7. Adelaide Baronchelli & Roberto Ricciuti, 2018. "Climate change, rice production, and migration in Vietnamese households," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2018-86, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    8. Boranbay, Serra & Guerriero, Carmine, 2019. "Endogenous (in)formal institutions," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 921-945.
    9. Nunn, Nathan, 2014. "Historical Development," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.),Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 7, pages 347-402, Elsevier.
    10. Johannes C. Buggle, 2017. "Irrigation, Collectivism and Long-Run Technological Divergence," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'économie 17.06, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, Département d’économie.
    11. Jeanet Bentzen & Jacob Gerner Hariri & James A. Robinson, 2014. "The Indigenous Roots of Representative Democracy," Discussion Papers 14-30, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    12. Zhu, J., 2018. "The agricultural root of innovation in China," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277219, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    13. Olsson, Ola & Paik, Christopher, 2015. "Long-Run Cultural Divergence: Evidence From the Neolithic Revolution," Working Papers in Economics 620, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    14. Lagerlöf, Nils-Petter, 2014. "Population, technology and fragmentation: The European miracle revisited," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 87-105.
    15. James B. Ang, 2019. "Agricultural legacy and individualistic culture," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 397-425, December.
    16. Thilo R. Huning & Fabian Wahl, 2016. "You Reap What You Know: Observability of Soil Quality, and Political Fragmentation," Working Papers 0101, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    17. Ömer Özak, 2018. "Distance to the pre-industrial technological frontier and economic development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 175-221, June.
    18. Xue, Melanie Meng & Koyama, Mark, 2018. "Autocratic Rule and Social Capital: Evidence from Imperial China," MPRA Paper 84249, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Welzel, Christian, 2014. "Evolution, Empowerment, and Emancipation: How Societies Climb the Freedom Ladder," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 33-51.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment

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