Proposal preview

Ethno-linguistic diversity and economic development in history

Ethno-religious diversity has the potential to affect long term development through a variety of mechanisms. Examples of these are labor specialization, institutional quality, and conflicts (see Alesina and La Ferrara (2005) for an overview). This session aims to bring together a collection of papers that will discuss these different mechanisms, in relation to various aspects of development – e.g. the provision of public goods, political stability, minority freedoms, and nation-state formation – for a variety of historical contexts.

Thus, the session will foster discussion on what has now become one of the central questions in economics and economic history: how does diversity affect development?

The session will feature papers that deal primarily with developing regions, or regions that were once developing, and at a local level. Methodologically speaking, the papers in this session will contrast the majority of existing studies, which are usually done for advanced countries and at aggregate, cross-country level.

With these aims in sight, Mark KOYAMA investigates 14th century Black Death pogroms to shed light on the factors determining when a minority group will face persecution. Luigi PASCALI analyses how the division of labor between the Jewish minority and the Christian majority affected the geography of anti-Semitism in six centuries of German history. Stelios MICHALOPOULOS tackles the question of persistence of ethnic and religious identity in Africa using census data from African countries. After documenting the extent of ethnic and religious endogamy, he explores how the economic and political landscape influences the inter-generational transmission of ethnoreligious identity. Leonard KUKIC analyses the impact of ethnic diversity on nation formation in socialist Yugoslavia, operating through the channel of ethnic intermarriage. Andrea PAPADIA studies the impact of ethnic diversity and slavery on public goods provision in Brazil in the late 19th and early 20th century.

References

Alesina, A., and E. La Ferrara (2005): “Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance,” Journal of Economic Literature, 43(3), 762–800.

Organizer(s)

  • Andrea Papadia European University Institute andrea.papadia@eui.eu Italy
  • Leonard Kukic Universidad Carlos III Madrid leonardkukic@gmail.com Spain

Session members

  • Andrea Papadia, European University Institute
  • Leonard Kukic, Universidad Carlos III Madrid
  • Mark Koyama, George Mason University
  • Stelios Michalopoulos, Brown University, NBER and CEPR
  • Luigi Pascali, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
  • Matteo Iudice,
  • Remi Jedwab, George Washington University
  • Noel Johnson, George Mason University
  • Sascha Becker, Warwick University

Discussant(s)

  • Daron DA Acemoglu MIT daron@mit.edu

Papers

Panel abstract

Ethno-religious diversity has the potential to affect long term development through a variety of mechanisms. This session brings together a collection of papers that deal with a number of these in relation to various aspects of development. Mark KOYAMA investigates 14th century Black Death pogroms to shed light on the factors determining when a minority group will face persecution. Luigi PASCALI analyses how the division of labor between the Jewish minority and the Christian majority affected the geography of anti-Semitism in six centuries of German history. Stelios MICHALOPOULOS tackles the question of persistence of ethnic and religious identity in Africa. Nathan NUNN studies the impact of social structure on conflict in sub-Saharan Africa. Leonard KUKIC analyses the effect of ethnic diversity on nation formation in socialist Yugoslavia. Andrea PAPADIA studies the impact of ethnic diversity and slavery on public goods provision in Brazil.

1st half

Negative Shocks and Mass Persecutions- Evidence from the Black Death

Mark Koyama, Remi Jebwab, Noel D. Johnson

We study the Black Death pogroms to shed light on the factors determining when a minority group will face persecution. In theory, negative shocks increase the likelihood that minorities are persecuted. But, as shocks become more severe, the persecution probability decreases if there are economic complementarities between majority and minority groups. The effects of shocks on persecutions are thus ambiguous. We compile city-level data on Black Death mortality and Jewish persecutions. At an aggregate level, scapegoating increases the probability of a persecution. However, cities which experienced higher plague mortality rates were less likely to persecute. Furthermore, for a given mortality shock, persecutions were less likely in cities where Jews played an important economic role and more likely in cities where people were more inclined to believe conspiracy theories that blamed the Jews for the plague. Our results have contemporary relevance given interest in the impact of economic, environmental and epidemiological...

We study the Black Death pogroms to shed light on the factors determining when a minority group will face persecution. In theory, negative shocks increase the likelihood that minorities are persecuted. But, as shocks become more severe, the persecution probability decreases if there are economic complementarities between majority and minority groups. The effects of shocks on persecutions are thus ambiguous. We compile city-level data on Black Death mortality and Jewish persecutions. At an aggregate level, scapegoating increases the probability of a persecution. However, cities which experienced higher plague mortality rates were less likely to persecute. Furthermore, for a given mortality shock, persecutions were less likely in cities where Jews played an important economic role and more likely in cities where people were more inclined to believe conspiracy theories that blamed the Jews for the plague. Our results have contemporary relevance given interest in the impact of economic, environmental and epidemiological shocks on conflict.

Religion, Division of Labor and Conflict- Anti-Semitism in German Regions over 600 Years

Luigi Pascali, Sascha Becker

Anti-Semitism continues to be a widespread societal problem rooted deeply in history. Using novel city-level data from Germany for more than 1,000 cities as well as county-level data, we study the role of economic incentives in shaping the co-existence of Jews, Catholics and Protestants. The Catholic ban on usury gave Jews living in Catholic regions a specific advantage in the moneylending sector. Following the Protestant Reformation (1517), the Jews lost this advantage in regions that became Protestant but not in those regions that remained Catholic. We show that 1) the Protestant Reformation induced a change in the geography of anti-Semitism with persecutions of Jews and anti-Jewish publications becoming more common in Protestant areas relative to Catholic areas; 2) this change was more pronounced in cities where Jews had already established themselves as moneylenders. An addendum using census data from the end of the 19th century shows that Jews were less...

Anti-Semitism continues to be a widespread societal problem rooted deeply in history. Using novel city-level data from Germany for more than 1,000 cities as well as county-level data, we study the role of economic incentives in shaping the co-existence of Jews, Catholics and Protestants. The Catholic ban on usury gave Jews living in Catholic regions a specific advantage in the moneylending sector. Following the Protestant Reformation (1517), the Jews lost this advantage in regions that became Protestant but not in those regions that remained Catholic. We show that 1) the Protestant Reformation induced a change in the geography of anti-Semitism with persecutions of Jews and anti-Jewish publications becoming more common in Protestant areas relative to Catholic areas; 2) this change was more pronounced in cities where Jews had already established themselves as moneylenders. An addendum using census data from the end of the 19th century shows that Jews were less dominant in the financial sector in Protestant regions than in Catholic regions. We interpret these findings as evidence that, following the Protestant Reformation, Jews living in Protestant regions were exposed to competition with the Christian majority, especially in moneylending, leading to an increase in anti-Semitism.

The Last Yugoslavs- Ethnic Diversity, National Identity, and Civil War

Leonard Kukic

Nation-building is often proposed as a device for integration and conflict reduction in ethnically divided societies. But, the determinants and implications of national identification remain quantitatively under-explored. This paper isolates the impact of ethnic diversity on the strength of national self-identification, and explores the relationship between national identification and ethnic conflict, within the unique historical setting of socialist Yugoslavia. I find that ethnically diverse municipalities were conducive towards the formation of Yugoslav identity because they stimulated ethnic intermarriage. I interpret this to mean that the more hybrid Yugoslav identity provided an alternative to forcing a single choice to individuals with conflicting identities. In addition, aligned with the notion that nation formation can reduce the incidence of ethnic conflict, I find that the areas that were characterised by a stronger Yugoslav sentiment experienced a lower intensity of conflict during the Bosnian War of 1992-1995.

Nation-building is often proposed as a device for integration and conflict reduction in ethnically divided societies. But, the determinants and implications of national identification remain quantitatively under-explored. This paper isolates the impact of ethnic diversity on the strength of national self-identification, and explores the relationship between national identification and ethnic conflict, within the unique historical setting of socialist Yugoslavia. I find that ethnically diverse municipalities were conducive towards the formation of Yugoslav identity because they stimulated ethnic intermarriage. I interpret this to mean that the more hybrid Yugoslav identity provided an alternative to forcing a single choice to individuals with conflicting identities. In addition, aligned with the notion that nation formation can reduce the incidence of ethnic conflict, I find that the areas that were characterised by a stronger Yugoslav sentiment experienced a lower intensity of conflict during the Bosnian War of 1992-1995.

2nd half

Slavery, Ethnic Segregation and Public Goods Provision in Brazil- A Long-run Perspective, 1872-2010

Andrea Papadia

A large body of research finds a negative relationship between ethnic and linguistic fragmentation and public goods provision. Recent work, however, suggests that its effect hinges on the degree of local mixing and of cross-ethnic interactions. The extent of these interactions depends, in turn, on the degree of ethnic segregation. In this paper, I take a long-run (1872-2010) perspective on these themes in Brazil and analyze the degree to which fragmentation and segregation, in combination with the legacy of slavery, have played a role in the provision of public goods in the country. Despite the fact that the idea of Brazil being a “racial democracy” has been debunked, the absence of racial ghettos on a scale comparable to that of the US, combined with a high degree of ethnic fragmentation, offer a unique context in which to study the relationship between cross-ethnic interactions and the provision of public goods.

A large body of research finds a negative relationship between ethnic and linguistic fragmentation and public goods provision. Recent work, however, suggests that its effect hinges on the degree of local mixing and of cross-ethnic interactions. The extent of these interactions depends, in turn, on the degree of ethnic segregation. In this paper, I take a long-run (1872-2010) perspective on these themes in Brazil and analyze the degree to which fragmentation and segregation, in combination with the legacy of slavery, have played a role in the provision of public goods in the country. Despite the fact that the idea of Brazil being a “racial democracy” has been debunked, the absence of racial ghettos on a scale comparable to that of the US, combined with a high degree of ethnic fragmentation, offer a unique context in which to study the relationship between cross-ethnic interactions and the provision of public goods.

On the Transmission of Ethnic Identity

Stelios Michalopoulos, Matteo Iudice

Relatively little is known about the intergenerational transmission on ethnicity in Africa. This research is an attempt to fill this gap by using census data from 15 African countries. We take advantage of a unique feature of the census questionnaire where parents besides their own identity also report the ethnolinguistic identity of their children. Within ethnically homogeneous couples identity is transmitted virtually unchanged. Within ethnically mixed couples, however, we show that the relative strength in political representation of the parents’ ethnic groups has a strong bearing on which of the two identities parents choose to report on behalf of their children. This pattern holds in the cross-section and over time when we compare the ethnicity that parents of identical (mixed) couples choose for their offspring when exposed to different ethnic political configurations. The uncovered patterns reveal the influence of politics on the transmission of ethnic identity in post-colonial Africa.

Relatively little is known about the intergenerational transmission on ethnicity in Africa. This research is an attempt to fill this gap by using census data from 15 African countries. We take advantage of a unique feature of the census questionnaire where parents besides their own identity also report the ethnolinguistic identity of their children. Within ethnically homogeneous couples identity is transmitted virtually unchanged. Within ethnically mixed couples, however, we show that the relative strength in political representation of the parents’ ethnic groups has a strong bearing on which of the two identities parents choose to report on behalf of their children. This pattern holds in the cross-section and over time when we compare the ethnicity that parents of identical (mixed) couples choose for their offspring when exposed to different ethnic political configurations. The uncovered patterns reveal the influence of politics on the transmission of ethnic identity in post-colonial Africa.

Social Structure and Conflict- Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa

Jacob Moscona, Nathan Nunn, James A. Robinson

We test the long-standing hypothesis that ethnic groups that are organized around ‘segmentary lineages’ are more prone to conflict and civil war. Ethnographic accounts suggest that in segmentary lineage societies, which are characterized by strong allegiances to distant relatives, individuals are obligated to come to the defense of fellow lineage members when they become involved in conflicts. As a consequence, small disagreements often escalate to larger-scale conflicts involving many individuals. We test for this link between segmentary lineage and conflict across 145 African ethnic groups in sub-Saharan Africa. Using a number of estimation strategies, including an RD design at ethnic boundaries, we find that segmentary lineage societies experience more conflicts and ones that are longer in duration and larger in scale. We also find that the previously-documented relationship between adverse rainfall shocks and conflict within Africa is only found within segmentary lineage societies.

We test the long-standing hypothesis that ethnic groups that are organized around ‘segmentary lineages’ are more prone to conflict and civil war. Ethnographic accounts suggest that in segmentary lineage societies, which are characterized by strong allegiances to distant relatives, individuals are obligated to come to the defense of fellow lineage members when they become involved in conflicts. As a consequence, small disagreements often escalate to larger-scale conflicts involving many individuals. We test for this link between segmentary lineage and conflict across 145 African ethnic groups in sub-Saharan Africa. Using a number of estimation strategies, including an RD design at ethnic boundaries, we find that segmentary lineage societies experience more conflicts and ones that are longer in duration and larger in scale. We also find that the previously-documented relationship between adverse rainfall shocks and conflict within Africa is only found within segmentary lineage societies.

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