Climate Shocks, State Capacity, and Peasant Uprisings in North China during 25-1911 CE
China provides an interesting case study of civil conflict because of her long history and rich records. Using a unique dynastic panel dataset for north China during 25-1911 CE, this study finds that severe famines and dynastic age were positively correlated with peasant uprisings, whereas government disaster relief as a proxy for state capacity played a significant mitigating role. Negative climate shocks (e.g., severe drought, locust plagues) affected peasant uprisings primarily through the channel of severe famines. The effects of population density, temperature, and other climate shocks (e.g., flood, levee breaches, snow disasters, and frost) were either not robust or insignificant.
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