Proposal preview

Government and the Economy

Stability of government is a key feature of successful economies, whereas instability leads to uncertainty about the future that threatens individual decisions and retards investment. History is replete with governments that solved problems of violence and instability by enriching a small number of powerful elites at the expense of the vast majority of the population. As the power of these elites and economic conditions changed over time, governments needed to renegotiate the terms of the agreement between elites, change the identity of the elite groups included in the governing coalition or face consequences of civil war. Six papers in our session (“An Agent-Base Model of Wealth and Inequality”, “Changes in Relationships, Rules, and Elites in Hawaii,” “Political Groups and the Impact of Civil Wars”, “Political Institutions and Economic Growth in China”, How India’s Colonial Legacy affected Post-Colonial Markets”, and “Cuba the War Baby”) consider how governments in Hawaii, the Cape Colony, India, China, and Cuba adjusted to changes in the economic power of elites and how their responses led to changes and persistence in social and economic outcomes. Fundamental changes in the nature and composition of the ruling coalition are not the only response that a government can make in the face of changing economic conditions and changing strength of elite groups. Major policy changes conducted within the framework of the existing institutions of government can, in some instances, suffice to allow adaptation to conditions of crisis. Two papers in our session (“The New Deal and Agricultural Outcomes”, and “Migration and CCC”) consider New Deal policies implemented in the United States during the Great Depression and consider both how these policies affected the economy and how they changed the distribution of rents to critical elites and interest groups.

Organizer(s)

  • Sumner La Croix, University of Hawaii, lacroix@hawaii.edu,
  • John J. Wallis, University of Maryland and NBER, Wallis@econ.umd.edu ,
  • Price V. Fishback, University of Arizona and NBER, pfishback@eller.arizona.edu ,

Session members

  • Erin McGuire, University of Arizona, mcguiree@email.arizona.edu
  • Debin Ma, London School of Economics and Political Science, d.ma1@lse.ac.uk
  • Cong Liu, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, congliu@email.arizona.edu
  • Alan Dye, Barnard College, Columbia University, ad245@columbia.edu
  • Sumner La Croix, University of Hawaii, lacroix@hawaii.edu
  • John J. Wallis, University of Maryland and NBER, Wallis@econ.umd.edu
  • Price V. Fishback, University of Arizona and NBER, pfishback@eller.arizona.edu
  • Johan Fourie, University of Stellenbosch, johanf@sun.ac.za
  • Anand V. Swamy, Williams College, swampy@williams.edu
  • Thirthankar Roy, London School of Economics and Political Science, t.roy@lse.ac.uk
  • Paul Rhode, University of Michigan, pwrhode@umich.edu
  • Briggs Depew, Utah State University, bdepew@lsu.edu
  • Shawn Kantor, Florida State University, skantor@fsu.edu
  • Todd Sorenson, University of California, Riverside, %20todd.sorensen@ucr.edu

Proposed discussant(s)

  • Price V. Fishback, University of Arizona and NBER, pfishback@eller.arizona.edu
  • John J. Wallis, University of Maryland, Wallis@econ.umd.edu
  • Paul Rhode, University of Arizona, pwrhode@umich.edu