Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers in Economics,
University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics

No 832: Drought and Political Trust

Pelle Ahlerup (), Aksel Sundström, Sverker C Jagers and Martin Sjöstedt
Additional contact information
Pelle Ahlerup: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University, Postal: P.O. Box 640, SE 40530 GÖTEBORG, Sweden

Abstract: Droughts can affect people’s political trust positively, through rallying effects, or negatively, through blame attribution. We examine how drought conditions affect political trust in the context of Africa. We link high-precision exogenous climate data to survey respondents, 2002–2018, and report moderate negative effects of drought conditions on people’s trust in their president. These negative effects increase with the severity of drought conditions. The political economy of favoritism, where some regions are preferentially treated by rulers, should result in heterogeneous effects across territories. We find that trust increases in capital regions and in leader birth regions during dry conditions. In contrast, when droughts take place in such regions, trust levels fall in other regions. This is in line with the idea that capital regions and leader birth regions could be preferentially treated in the aftermath of droughts. Understanding these processes further is important given their salience because of global warming.

Keywords: Africa; Drought; Afrobarometer; Trust; Climate change; Disasters

JEL-codes: D74; H70; O10

Language: English

41 pages, April 2023

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