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Revolt on the Nile: Religion & Politics

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on May 14, 2011

The following interesting study can help us understand the never ending cunning path Egypt follows in restricting and manipulating Ethiopia from using, or diverting the waters of the river Nile. For the time being, Egyptian politicians and leaders of the Coptic church will of course be used by Muslim religious elites, as clients or lobbyists, with a long-term strategic agenda to influence the Ethiopian political landscape. The current charm offensive performed by Egyptian parliamentarians and their Prime Minister will certainly be culminated with visits, to Ethiopia, of high-ranking Coptic leaders.

Eric Chaney, Harvard University, February 22, 2011

Can religious leaders use their popular influence to political ends? This paper explores this question using over 700 years of Nile flood data to investigate the extent to which religious leaders derived political influence (defined as monetary transfers from the military) from their control over popular support. In finding evidence consistent with such popularly-derived influence, it provides the first empirical evidence sup-porting the key premise of theories stressing the importance of religion in generating institutional outcomes.

Results show that deviant Nile floods reduced the dismissal probability of Egypt’s highest-ranking religious authority by roughly one-half. Qualitative evidence suggests this decrease reflects an increase in political power stemming from famine-induced surges in the religious authority’s control over popular support. Additional empirical results support this interpretation by linking the observed probability decrease to the number of individuals a religious authority could influence. The paper concludes that the results provide empirical support for theories suggesting religion as a determinant of institutional outcomes.

Recent research suggests that political freedom is correlated with a country’s primary religious affiliation both historically and today. Political rulers seem to have generally satisfied the demands of the religious elites to the extent necessary to prevent rebellion.

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One Response to “Revolt on the Nile: Religion & Politics”

  1. I all the time used to read piece of writing in news papers but now
    as I am a user of web therefore from now I am using net for articles,
    thanks to web.

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