Un-Therapeutic communities: A Cross-National Analysis of Post-Disaster Political Unrest

August 1997 (VOL. 15, NO. 2)

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A recurring question in the study of disaster effects involves political instability. A relationship has been posited between disasters and various forms of political unrest, and case evidence exists to support the contention. Statistical testing, however, has been lacking. A pilot study, this paper integrates a worldwide-disaster database with a political-instability database and reports time-series cross-section (pooled time-series) findings for 12 countries struck by rapid-onset natural disaster between 1966 and 1980. The regression results, both strong and significant, indicate a positive relationship between disaster severity and political unrest. The unrest, however, can be dampened if not eliminated by governmental repression, the implications of which are most disturbing.