Shaking Legitimacy: The Impact of Earthquakes on Conflict in Historical China

3:00pm - 4:30pm
Zoom Meeting ID: 968 790 9998 (password 5113355)

In historical China, because rulers ascribed their legitimacy to a heavenly mandate, natural calamities like earthquakes were seen as signs that the ruler’s legitimacy had been weakened. I therefore proxy legitimacy shock by quake-induced minor shaking (i.e., strong enough to be felt by the population but too weak to cause material damage to persons or objects) and show that it causes significant political instability (as measured by conflict). This effect is much larger in regions with higher levels of ethnolinguistic fragmentation, suggesting that legitimacy shock can serve as a coordination device for overcoming the problems inherent in collective action.

Event Format
Speakers / Performers:
Prof. Ying Bai
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Recommended For
Faculty and staff
PG students
Department of Economics

Julie Wong by email:

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