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Protecting People from Natural Disasters: Political Institutions and Ocean-Originated Hazards*

  • Alejandro Quiroz Flores

Why do some leaders protect their citizens from natural disasters while others do not? This paper argues that leaders in large coalition systems provide more protection against natural disasters than leaders in small coalition systems. Yet, autocrats also provide large-scale disaster protection if members of their winning coalition are exposed to natural hazards. The paper tests these propositions by examining cross-country variation in the number of sea-level stations as a lower bound for protection against ocean-originated disasters. Empirical evidence indicates that leaders in large coalition systems deploy more sea-level stations than their counterparts in small coalition systems. The evidence also shows that if the national capital is close to the coast, thus exposing members of the ruling coalition to ocean-originated hazards, leaders across political systems install more sea-level stations.

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Alejandro Quiroz Flores is Lecturer at the Department of Government, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ ( The author thanks Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Alastair Smith, Thomas Plümper, several anonymous reviewers, the editor at Political Science Research and Methods, and the participants at the ISA 2014 Annual Meeting for helpful comments.

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Political Science Research and Methods
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