Trial by Fire: A Natural Disaster’s Impact on Support for the Authorities in Rural Russia

52 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2012 Last revised: 17 Dec 2013

Egor Lazarev

Columbia University

Anton Sobolev

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Irina V. Soboleva

Columbia University - Department of Political Science

Boris Sokolov

National Research University Higher School of Economics - Laboratory for Comparative Social Research

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 30, 2012

Abstract

This study aims to explore the micro-foundations of political support under a non-democratic regime by investigating the impact of a natural disaster on attitudes toward the government. The research exploits the enormous wildfires that occurred in rural Russia during the summer of 2010 as a natural experiment. We test the effects of fires with a survey of almost 800 respondents in 70 randomly selected villages. Our study finds that in the burned villages there is higher support for the government at all levels. Most counterintuitively, the rise of support for authorities cannot be fully explained by the generous governmental aid. We interpret the results by the demonstration effect of the government’s performance.

Keywords: government support, natural disasters, authoritarianism, natural experiment

Suggested Citation

Lazarev, Egor and Sobolev, Anton and Soboleva, Irina V. and Sokolov, Boris, Trial by Fire: A Natural Disaster’s Impact on Support for the Authorities in Rural Russia (April 30, 2012). Forthcoming in World Politics; Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. BRP 04/PS/2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2011975 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2011975

Egor Lazarev (Contact Author)

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Anton Sobolev

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/antsobolev/

Irina V. Soboleva

Columbia University - Department of Political Science ( email )

MC3320
420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Boris Sokolov

National Research University Higher School of Economics - Laboratory for Comparative Social Research ( email )

room 318; 55-2, Sedova ul.,
Saint-Petersburg, 190068
Russia
+78125600443 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.hse.ru/en/org/persons/50169851

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