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The Effects of Weather-Induced Migration on Sons of the Soil Riots in India

  • Rikhil R. Bhavnani and Bethany Lacina

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Migration is thought to cause sons of the soil conflict, particularly if natives tend to be unemployed. Using data from India, the authors investigate the causal effect of domestic migration on riots by instrumenting for migration using weather shocks in migrants’ places of origin. They find a direct effect of migration on riots, but do not find that this effect is larger in places with more native unemployment. They argue and find evidence that migration is less likely to cause rioting where the host population is politically aligned with the central government. Politically privileged host populations can appease nativists and reduce migration through means that are less costly than rioting. Without these political resources, hosts resort to violence. Beyond furthering the sons of the soil literature, the authors detail a political mechanism linking natural disasters and, possibly, climate change and environmental degradation to riots, and demonstrate a widely applicable strategy for recovering the causal effect of migration on violence.

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The Effects of Weather-Induced Migration on Sons of the Soil Riots in India

  • Rikhil R. Bhavnani and Bethany Lacina

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