Irrigation and Autocracy

33 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2012

See all articles by Jeanet Sinding Bentzen

Jeanet Sinding Bentzen

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics

Nicolai Kaarsen

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics

Asger Moll Wingender

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 11, 2012

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 rain fed 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

Bentzen, Jeanet and Kaarsen, Nicolai and Wingender, Asger Moll, Irrigation and Autocracy (July 11, 2012). Univ. of Copenhagen Dept. of Economics Discussion Paper No. 12-06. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2124952 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2124952

Jeanet Bentzen (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Bygning 26
1353 Copenhagen K.
Denmark

Nicolai Kaarsen

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Bygning 26
1353 Copenhagen K.
Denmark

Asger Moll Wingender

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Bygning 26
1353 Copenhagen K.
Denmark

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