Exploiting Emergencies: Government Corruption and Repression in Post-Disaster Societies

Lark Pinney head shot

Name: Lark Pinney
Major: Political Science (Comparative Politics concentration)
Minor: Spanish, Religious Studies
Advisor: Michele Leiby; Erum Haider (second reader)

This study aims to explore a potential casual mechanism between natural disasters and states’ use of repression. It is well established that natural disasters can increase state repression, but do not always. I propose that corruption by the government of humanitarian aid received after the disaster is one context in which repression could then occur. I specifically hypothesize that if there is corruption of humanitarian aid after a natural disaster that is discovered by the public, there will be public mobilization that the state will respond to with repressive measures. I explore this hypothesis through two case studies: an earthquake in 2007 in Peru and an earthquake in 2010 in Chile. While some evidence of corruption of aid was found in Peru, there was no evidence of subsequent related protests. In Chile, no evidence of corruption was found, and therefore no public mobilization. The study concludes with policy recommendations and suggestions for future research.

Posted in Comments Enabled, Independent Study, Symposium 2023 on April 14, 2023.

3 responses to “Exploiting Emergencies: Government Corruption and Repression in Post-Disaster Societies”

  1. H says:

    Hi Lark! Excellent project! I have one question: did you examine other types of natural disasters, or just earthquakes? What part of your methodology informed this decision?

  2. Prof. Leiby says:

    Congratulations, Lark! It was a great joy to work with you.

  3. Mark Graham says:

    Hi Lark — This is such interesting work. It’s great to learn about your project — thanks for doing the work and for sharing it here!

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