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Disasters and Political Unrest: An Empirical Investigation

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A connection between disasters and political unrest has often been suggested, but only case studies/anecdotes have been offered as evidence. To test statistically for a disaster-political unrest relationship, a causal model is developed that posits a direct and positive linkage between disaster severity and ensuing levels of political unrest. The model further specifies that increased levels of development, income equality, and regime repressiveness dampen post-disaster political unrest. Using a time-series between 1966 and 1980, Poisson regression results strongly corroborate the model. The exception is income equality, which has the opposite of the originally hypothesized effect.
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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Political Science, The John G. Tower Center for Political Studies, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas 75275-0117, 2: International Hurricane Center, Department of Political Science, Florida International University, Miami.

Publication date: 01 September 1998

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