DP12785 Democratic Tipping Points

Author(s): Antonio Ciccone
Publication Date: March 2018
Keyword(s): persistent democratization, transitory shocks
Programme Areas: Development Economics, Macroeconomics and Growth
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=12785

I examine whether transitory events can tip the scales against authoritarian regimes and lead to persistent democratization. I think of situations where this is a possibility as democratic tipping points. The transitory events I focus on are rainfall shocks in the most agricultural countries in the world. I show that while these shocks only affect agricultural output contemporaneously, they have persistent effects on political institutions. Authoritarian regimes experiencing negative rainfall shocks are more likely to be democratic three, five, and ten years later.