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Climate Change and the Prospects for Economic Growth: How Extreme Weather Events affect Regime Stability

Research project
Active research
Project size
8 000 000
Project period
2017 - 2020
Project owner
Department of Political Science

Short description

The overall objective of this project is to investigate how the prospects for economic growth are affected by climate change. While the set of mechanisms through which climate change may influence economic performance is extremely large and difficult to assess comprehensively, this particular project focuses on the effects of climate change on a factor said to be crucial for the economic growth of a country, namely regime stability.

Regime stability – defined as the absence of irregular and unconstitutional transfers of government – has been shown to affect economic growth by reducing uncertainty and stimulating economic exchange. As such, regime stability is generally considered to be one of the fundamental prerequisites for economic growth. However, given ongoing and future climate change, this fundamental condition may become increasingly challenged. More specifically, as climate change is predicted to increase the likelihood of extreme weather events and resource scarcity, there is increasing concern about the effects on political stability. Yet, although such concerns are common, there is a substantial lack of research investigating this relationship empirically. This project, however, sets out to fill this gap. This is done through large-N analyses where we use unique data on patterns of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) over the years 1950-2008 together with detailed data on trends in both leadership tenure and government turnover.