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Historical events and their effects on long-term economic and social development

Waldinger, Maria (2014) Historical events and their effects on long-term economic and social development. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis uses econometric methods to examine the effects of historical events and developments on aspects of economic and social development. Its objective is two-fold: The thesis examines causes and effects of different historical events using econometric methods and newly constructed and newly available data sets. By studying these historical events, broader theoretical questions are addressed that are relevant and have implications for today. The first chapter studies the economic effects of the Little Ice Age, a climatic period that brought markedly colder conditions to large parts of Europe. The theoretical interest of this study lies in the question whether gradual temperature changes affect economic growth in the long-run, despite people’s efforts to adapt. This question is highly relevant in the current debate on the economic effects of climate change. Results show that the effect of temperature varies across climate zones, that temperature affected economic growth through its effect on agricultural productivity and that cities that were especially dependent on agriculture were especially affected. The second chapter examines the role of adverse climatic conditions on political protest. In particular, it assesses the role of adverse climate on the eve of the French Revolution on peasant uprisings in 1789. Historians have argued that crop failure in 1788 and cold weather in the winter of 1788/89 led to peasant revolts in various parts of France. I construct a cross section data set with information on temperature in 1788 and 1789 and on the precise location of peasant revolts. Results show that adverse climatic conditions significantly affected peasant uprisings. The third chapter examines the role of different Catholic missionary orders in colonial Mexico on long term educational outcomes. I construct a data set of the location of 1000 historical mission stations. I use OLS and instrumental variables estimation to show that only Mendicant mission stations have affected educational attainment while all orders affected conversion.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2014 Maria Waldinger
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Sets: Departments > International Development
Supervisor: Weinhold, Diana

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