Harbors and Democracy

138 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2018

See all articles by John Gerring

John Gerring

University of Texas at Austin

Tore Wig

University of Oslo

Andreas Forø Tollefsen

International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO)

Brendan Apfeld

University of Texas at Austin

Date Written: June 2018

Abstract

Although geography is widely viewed as an important factor in long-term development, little attention has been paid to its role in democratization. This study focuses on the possible impact of a feature of littoral geography: natural harbors with access to the sea. By virtue of enhancing connections to the wider world, we argue that harbors foster (a) development, (b) mobility, (c) naval-based defense forces, and (d) diffusion. Through these pathways, operative over secular-historical time, areas blessed by natural harbors are more likely to develop democratic forms of government. This argument is tested with a unique database measuring distance to natural harbors throughout the world. We show that there is a robust negative association between this measure and democracy in country and grid-cell analyses, and in instrumental variable models where harbor distance is instrumented by ocean distance.

Suggested Citation

Gerring, John and Wig, Tore and Forø Tollefsen, Andreas and Apfeld, Brendan, Harbors and Democracy (June 2018). V-Dem Working Paper 2018:70. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3205037 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3205037

John Gerring (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin ( email )

2317 Speedway
Austin, TX 78712
United States

Tore Wig

University of Oslo ( email )

PO Box 6706 St Olavs plass
Oslo, N-0317
Norway

Andreas Forø Tollefsen

International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) ( email )

Oslo
N-0260 Oslo
Norway

Brendan Apfeld

University of Texas at Austin ( email )

2317 Speedway
Austin, TX 78712
United States

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