Perceived Temperature, Trust and Civil Unrest in Africa

Alfano, Marco and Aboyadana, Gabriel Amobila (2020) Perceived Temperature, Trust and Civil Unrest in Africa. Preprint / Working Paper. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

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This paper documents a positive effect of short-term anomalies in temperature as perceived by the human body on mistrust and on civil unrest. To measure perceived temperature we construct a heat index that combines air temperature, humidity, wind speed and solar radiation. Using pan-African attitudinal data, we find that positive anomalies in perceived temperature on the exact day and at the precise location of the interview are associated with higher reported levels of mistrust. Effects are particularly strong for poorer individuals and individuals living in ethnically fragmented countries and in countries with low governmental eficiency. Moreover, monthly positive anomalies in perceived temperature are found to increase incidences of riots and protests. Evidence also suggests that this effect is independent of changes in income.


Alfano, Marco ORCID logoORCID: and Aboyadana, Gabriel Amobila ORCID logoORCID:;