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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. Xue, Melanie Meng & Koyama, Mark, 2018. "Autocratic Rule and Social Capital: Evidence from Imperial China," MPRA Paper 84249, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Johannes C. Buggle, 2017. "Irrigation, Collectivism and Long-Run Technological Divergence," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 17.06, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
    3. 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.
    4. Lagerlöf, Nils-Petter, 2014. "Population, technology and fragmentation: The European miracle revisited," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 87-105.
    5. Anastasia Litina, 2012. "Unfavorable Land Endowment, Cooperation, and Reversal of Fortune," CREA Discussion Paper Series 12-07, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
    6. 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.
    7. Nunn, Nathan, 2014. "Historical Development," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 7, pages 347-402 Elsevier.
    8. Guerriero, Carmine & Boranbay, Serra, 2012. "Endogenous (In)Formal Institutions," MPRA Paper 71028, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 22 Apr 2016.
    9. Mayshar, Joram & Moav, Omer & Neeman, Zvika, 2017. "Geography, Transparency, and Institutions," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 111(03), pages 622-636, August.
    10. Anastasia Litina, 2016. "Natural land productivity, cooperation and comparative development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 351-408, December.
    11. Oded Galor & Marc Klemp, 2015. "Roots of Autocracy," Working Papers 2015-7, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    12. 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).
    13. 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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