Nugent (1999). The local variability of rainfall and tribal institutions: the case of Sudan
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This paper develops and tests hypotheses relating the local (spatial) variability of rainfall to property rights and the degree of hierarchy in tribal societies. In the presence of local variability of rainfall, the welfare of tribal members can be enhanced by an institution allowing every member access to all land controlled by the tribe. Greater local variability of rainfall also lowers the degree of hierarchy, both directly and indirectly. Results based on historical and ethnographic data from a cross-section of 41 Sudanese tribes and meterological data from 168 rainfall stations provide tentative support for most of the hypotheses.