Proposal preview

Historical perspectives of inequality in the Eastern Mediterranean

Economic inequality has been increasingly in the focus of academic and public interest in the last decade. The patterns of income distribution across time and space since the Industrial Revolution have mostly been studied with reference to the European and North American economies, while the periphery of the world economy is yet to be integrated into this recent research stream. The development of the Eastern Mediterranean economies (broadly defined as the region containing Greece, Western Anatolia, Cyprus, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel, and Egypt) was heavily characterized by the integration with the world economy through exports of primary goods in the long nineteenth century and later starting from the interwar period the inward-oriented policies and state-led industrialization. The proposed session will explore how the patterns of inequality between groups and regions changed in relation to trade, ethnicity, geography, as well as the access to public goods and political influence through that process. Therefore we aim to bring together the frontier research on the economic inequality in the region asking the following questions: What does the available evidence suggest for the long-run tendency of income distribution? Did the first globalisation lead to change in land inequality? How did the ethnic differences relate to wealth gaps? Did the spatial gaps between regions change over time? How did the urban-rural differences evolve?

Session organisers welcome further contributions broadly on the economic inequalities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Organizer(s)

  • Ulas Karakoc Humboldt University Berlin ulas.karakoc@hu-berlin.de Germany

Session members

  • Sevket Pamuk, Bogazici University
  • Gunes Asik, TOBB University
  • Laura Panza, University of Melbourn
  • Yiannis Kokkinakis, University of Crete
  • Tymon Słoczyński, Brandeis University
  • Hulya Canbakal, Sabanci University

Discussant(s)

  • Bogac Ergene University of Vermont Bogac.Ergene@uvm.edu

This panel has Call for Papers open.
If you are interested in participating, please contact the panel organizer(s) to submit a proposal.

  • Ulas Karakoc, Humboldt University Berlin, ulas.karakoc@hu-berlin.de, Germany

Papers

Panel abstract

The development of the Eastern Mediterranean economies was heavily characterised by the integration with the world economy through exports of primary goods in the long nineteenth century and later starting from the interwar period the inward-oriented policies and state-led industrialisation. The session will explore how the patterns of inequality between groups and regions changed in relation to trade, ethnicity, geography, as well as the access to public goods and political influence. We bring together the frontier research on the economic inequality in the region asking the following questions: What does the available evidence suggest for the long-run tendency of income distribution? Did the first globalisation lead to change in land inequality? How did the ethnic differences relate to wealth gaps? Did the spatial gaps between regions change over time? How did the urban-rural differences evolve?

1st half

Inequality and the Rich in Ottoman Anatolia and the Balkans, 1660-1840

Hulya Canbakal, Alpay Filiztekin, Irfan Kokdas

Current literature on patterns of inequality in the early modern world points to considerable diversity or divergence within and between the continents, with a wide array of factors invoked as causes and components thereof, and implications for long-term growth. Still highly understudied, empires of the central Eurasian land mass should be expected to be no less diverse internally by virtue of their territorial expanse.  With this diversity in mind, this paper pursues a regional approach to inequality in the Ottoman Empire. The study is based on probate inventories. We first explore and compare inequality of wealth in some of the Balkan and Anatolian provinces that were, at the time, geographically and functionally part of the imperial core lands. Despite a shared experience of commercialization, change in property relations and distribution of the surplus between the center and the local elites, some regions were increasingly drawn into the world market, while...

Current literature on patterns of inequality in the early modern world points to considerable diversity or divergence within and between the continents, with a wide array of factors invoked as causes and components thereof, and implications for long-term growth. Still highly understudied, empires of the central Eurasian land mass should be expected to be no less diverse internally by virtue of their territorial expanse.  With this diversity in mind, this paper pursues a regional approach to inequality in the Ottoman Empire. The study is based on probate inventories. We first explore and compare inequality of wealth in some of the Balkan and Anatolian provinces that were, at the time, geographically and functionally part of the imperial core lands. Despite a shared experience of commercialization, change in property relations and distribution of the surplus between the center and the local elites, some regions were increasingly drawn into the world market, while others remained more domestic oriented. We investigate the influence of these factors on patterns of inequality. Secondly, we compare the long-term trends in the prevalence and profile of the rich, as recent research argues that trends in the share of the rich may help determine the trend in general economic inequality. Changes in the profiles and estates of the rich are also expected to shed light on the extensive and intensive aspects of inequality.

Regional incomes, ethnicity and conflicts in Turkey, 1880-1960

Gunes Asik, Ulas Karakoc, Sevket Pamuk

Turkey is a country with large regional disparities, mainly between the east and west, in terms of income per capita and development indicators. Yet, evidence on how regional inequalities have changed in the long term remains sparse and anecdotal. Based on a novel dataset of agricultural and non-agricultural incomes at NUTS-2 regional classification between 1880-1960, this paper aims to (a) document the medium run change of regional income disparities, (b) attempt to establish causal impact of major shocks, such as the elimination of Christian minorities through the deportation and extermination of Armenians and the population exchange between Greece and Turkey, on the path of regional development in the first half of the twentieth century.

Turkey is a country with large regional disparities, mainly between the east and west, in terms of income per capita and development indicators. Yet, evidence on how regional inequalities have changed in the long term remains sparse and anecdotal. Based on a novel dataset of agricultural and non-agricultural incomes at NUTS-2 regional classification between 1880-1960, this paper aims to (a) document the medium run change of regional income disparities, (b) attempt to establish causal impact of major shocks, such as the elimination of Christian minorities through the deportation and extermination of Armenians and the population exchange between Greece and Turkey, on the path of regional development in the first half of the twentieth century.

Patterns of inequality in Ottoman and Autonomous Crete, 1870-1913

Yiannis Kokkinakis

This paper focuses my on three distinctive but interconnected roots of inequality in Crete during the “first globalisation era”, that is between 1870 and 1914. The first is associated with the transfer of property between Muslims and Christians in the context of the anticipated emancipation of Crete from the Ottoman Empire. The second has to do with regional inequality and antagonism between farming and livestock production. Finally, a third decisive factor that must be evaluated is the influence of international trade and debt relations during the final years of Ottoman rule and the crucial early years of the autonomous regime in Crete (1898-1906) culminating in the Therissos revolt.

This paper focuses my on three distinctive but interconnected roots of inequality in Crete during the “first globalisation era”, that is between 1870 and 1914. The first is associated with the transfer of property between Muslims and Christians in the context of the anticipated emancipation of Crete from the Ottoman Empire. The second has to do with regional inequality and antagonism between farming and livestock production. Finally, a third decisive factor that must be evaluated is the influence of international trade and debt relations during the final years of Ottoman rule and the crucial early years of the autonomous regime in Crete (1898-1906) culminating in the Therissos revolt.

2nd half

Free Trade and Income Distribution in Ottoman Turkey during the 19th Century

Sevket Pamuk

One key trend during this period was the relative if not absolute decline in manufacturing activities under pressure of imports and increasing specialization in agriculture. As a result, merchant incomes increased but the gap in per capita incomes between the urban and rural areas did not widen. Distribution of income between owners of land and labor depended on land-labor ratios, degree of market orientation of agriculture in different regions and other conditions.

One key trend during this period was the relative if not absolute decline in manufacturing activities under pressure of imports and increasing specialization in agriculture. As a result, merchant incomes increased but the gap in per capita incomes between the urban and rural areas did not widen. Distribution of income between owners of land and labor depended on land-labor ratios, degree of market orientation of agriculture in different regions and other conditions.

The impact of ethnic segregation on schooling outcomes in Mandate Palestine

Laura Panza

This paper investigates the impact of ethnic segregation on a set of educational outcomes in Mandate Palestine. During this period a large flow of Jewish migrants settled in ethnic enclaves which had extremely limited integration with the native Arab population. Inter-ethnic separation involved most socio-economic dimensions, including schooling. In order to overcome endogeneity and reverse causality concerns I instrument segregation, measured using the dissimilarity index, with an indicator of linguistic network intensity. The empirical findings point to a negative effect of segregation on Arab school attendance, and a positive one on the Jewish supply of schooling.

This paper investigates the impact of ethnic segregation on a set of educational outcomes in Mandate Palestine. During this period a large flow of Jewish migrants settled in ethnic enclaves which had extremely limited integration with the native Arab population. Inter-ethnic separation involved most socio-economic dimensions, including schooling. In order to overcome endogeneity and reverse causality concerns I instrument segregation, measured using the dissimilarity index, with an indicator of linguistic network intensity. The empirical findings point to a negative effect of segregation on Arab school attendance, and a positive one on the Jewish supply of schooling.

Anton Bonnier, Adam Izdebski, Tymon Słoczyński, Grzegorz Koloch, Katerina Kouli

Landscape Change and Market Integration in Ancient Greece: Evidence from Pollen Data

In this paper we use pollen data from a number of sites in southern Greece and Macedonia to study long-term vegetation change in these regions from 1000 BCE to 600 CE. Based on insights from environmental history, we interpret our estimated trends in the regional presence of cereal, olive, and vine pollen as proxies for structural changes in agricultural production. We present evidence that there was a market economy in ancient Greece and a major trade expansion several centuries before the Roman conquest. Our results are consistent with auxiliary data on settlement dynamics, shipwrecks, and ancient oil and wine presses.

In this paper we use pollen data from a number of sites in southern Greece and Macedonia to study long-term vegetation change in these regions from 1000 BCE to 600 CE. Based on insights from environmental history, we interpret our estimated trends in the regional presence of cereal, olive, and vine pollen as proxies for structural changes in agricultural production. We present evidence that there was a market economy in ancient Greece and a major trade expansion several centuries before the Roman conquest. Our results are consistent with auxiliary data on settlement dynamics, shipwrecks, and ancient oil and wine presses.