Does democracy prevail only in moderate rainfall countries?

A rainfall theory of democracy

From Stephen Haber and Victor Menaldo:

Why have some countries remained obstinately authoritarian despite repeated waves of democratization while others have exhibited uninterrupted democracy? This paper explores the emergence and persistence of authoritarianism and democracy. We argue that settled agriculture requires moderate levels of precipitation, and that settled agriculture eventually gave birth to the fundamental institutions that under-gird today’s stable democracies. Although all of the world’s societies were initially tribal, the bonds of tribalism weakened in places where the surpluses associated with settled agriculture gave rise to trade, social differentiation, and taxation. In turn, the economies of scale required to efficiently administer trade and taxes meant that feudalism was eventually replaced by the modern territorial state, which favored the initial emergence of representative institutions in Western Europe. Subsequently, when these initial territorial states set out to conquer regions populated by tribal peoples, the institutions that could emerge in those conquered areas again reflected nature’s constraints. An instrumental variables approach demonstrates that while low levels of rainfall cause persistent autocracy and high levels of rainfall strongly favor it as well, moderate rainfall supports stable democracy. This econometric strategy also shows that rainfall works through the institutions of the modern territorial state borne from settled agriculture, institutions that are proxied for by low levels of contemporary tribalism.

The above theory seems ,on the face of it, a reasonable one but if you look close enough ,it does not explain the lack of democracy in some countries like Pakistan where despite repeated democratization attempts military rule keeps coming in every once in a while. In India and Pakistan similar rainfall conditions prevail but in India there has never been an authoritarian regime.

The philosopher’s puzzlement

When I was still doubtful as to his ability, I asked G. E. Moore for his opinion. Moore replied, “I think very well of him indeed.” When I enquired the reason for his opinion, he said that it was because Wittgenstein was the only man who looked puzzled at his lectures.

– Bertrand Russell
(Quote taken from The Floating Library)

I wonder what he means when he said the fact that Wittgenstein was the only man who looked puzzled at his lectures made him think well of him .Was it merely facetiousness ? One possible reason could be that everything of what he said posed no puzzles to others while he seemed to think there was much in it that was too deep for the audience to grasp and there was no reason for them not to look puzzled. Surely this cannot be the reason because Wittgenstein could not have been presuming that his lectures should go over their heads.The fact that Moore thought well of him merely on the basis of the philosopher’s puzzlement before an audience who seemed to understand everything is a certificate of the philosopher’s ability . Apparently it is the ability of the audience which is suspect.If they had tried to grasp what he was saying they too would be as puzzled as the philosopher was.

But the question that remains unanswered is whether the audience’s inability to grasp what he says proves,ipso facto,the philosopher’s own ability to grasp the subject,irrespective of his ability to explain it to the audience.The fact that he looked puzzled does not necessarily prove that he is “at sea” on the subject.It may even prove the other possibility that there was much in what he says that had to puzzle anybody.The fact that he was the only person who looked puzzled indicates that he alone understood the subject while the audience did not attempt to grasp it.Had they attempted it,they too would have been puzzled.