Work in Progress
Old Working Papers
- Political History, Culture and Cooperation: Medieval Social Contracts and their Legacy [Download pdf]
(with P. Buonanno, M. Cervellati and G. Prarolo)
We study the long-shadow of local political history for socio-economic outcomes and attitudes today. Following historical evidence on medieval communal and maritime republics, we conceptualize more inclusive and exploitative social contracts as resulting from the interplay between the different incentives of ruling elites and the behavior of the population at large. Tracking the emergence, territorial evolution and disappearance of each polity in pre-industrial Italy, we measure the intensity of exposure to different republics over time and the number of changes in the identity of rulers (i.e. political stability) in each municipality. Looking within territories ever ruled by the republics, we find that a longer exposure to communal polities increases fiscal compliance, while the forceful annexation to the rule of maritime republics and higher political instability reduce it. Contribution to public goods goes hand-in-hand with fiscal policies and is positively associated to generalized morality (organ donations) but crowds-out private mutual help. Political history also shapes population diversity today in line with evidence on differently attractive historical legal regulations. The results are robust to extensive checks and are confirmed using local variation in distance to centers of power and to the changing network of polities in instrumental variable regressions. Findings suggest that historical political instability and selected migration are reinforcing mechanisms of historical persistence of multiple social contracts until today.
- Political Geography and Pre Pre-Industrial Development: A Theory and Evidence for Europe 1000-1850 [Download pdf]
(with M. Cervellati, G. Prarolo and P. Vanin)
We present a theory of the drivers, and a measurement of the patterns, of the evolution of historical sovereign polities over time and space in Europe, and we study their impact on pre-industrial urban development. We model changing state capacity and rule of law over space as resulting from strategic interactions between ruling elites. We characterize the endogenous evolution of equilibrium number, size, borders and type of polities. The framework characterizes the timing and location of appearance (and disappearance) of city states and the transition from domain reigns to modern territorial states. The model predicts the emergence of hard borders and a reversal in the role of locations' centrality for development. We measure the territorial evolution of sovereign polities by assembling geo-referenced yearly panel data on the political geography of each location in Europe for the period 1000-1850 and we investigate its implications for pre-industrial urban growth. Results document a changing role of polity size and type and a reversal of centrality from across to within polities which is associated to increasing importance of domestic market potential after the XVII century.
Work in Progress
- History, Culture, and Preferences over Democratic Institutions
(with M. Cervellati)
A growing literature studies the working of democratic institutions and their emergence. Little is known on preferences over political institutions in the population at large and on their historical drivers. We investigate the empirical determinants of the votes in the Referendum over Monarchy vs Republic held, for the first time in universal franchise, at the end of WWI in 1946 in Italy. We construct a large disaggregate database to study the determinants of the votes for about 8100 municipalities in Italy. A main variable of interest is the exposure to the rule of more or less republican and monarchic sovereign polities in medieval times. We track the emergence, evolution and territorial disappearance of the sovereign polities in pre-industrial times. We build a time varying political score for the Italian peninsula that offers a proxy of the actual exposure to the rule of republics and monarchies in each location and each year over the period 1000-1861. The data allows a first measurement of past exposure to different political institutions and an exploration of their (cultural) legacy for preferences over Republic and Monarchy during the transition to democracy. The empirical analysis also accounts for economic conflicts of interests (in terms of historical land inequality), socio-economic conditions and for the role of short term contingencies (like fascist-nazi massacres and occupations along the nazi defensive lines during WWII).
- Cultural Colonization and Populism: Evidence from Argentina.
Despite the fall of Mussolini's populist and fascist regime in Italy during World War II, in 1946 the Argentine population elected Juan Domingo Peron, a former army general and a politician with a corporatist, authoritarian and populist ideology. This paper investigates the relationship between the Italian mass migration to Argentina during the period 1880-1950 and affiliation of Argentinian members of parliament (MPs) to the Peronist (populist) party from 1946 onwards. The working hypothesis is that the populist (fascist) ideology of Mussolini propagated in Argentina exploiting the sentiment of Italian identity abroad and lead to a rise of the demand for populist representatives and leaders in the host country. To assess the link between Italian roots and Peronism I collect data on Argentinian MPs and match their surnames with a novel database tracking more than 1 million Italian migrants to Argentina. I find that having Italian origins is associated with 3\% higher probability to be a Peronist MP. Interestingly, this relationship is hump-shaped with respect to the period in which the relatives of the MPs migrated the most, with a peak in the period 1919-1924 (the rise of Mussolini to power) but rapidly declining when Mussolini was in power. To investigate the mechanism underlying this finding I exploit machine learning techniques and the distribution of surnames in Italian municipalities to infer the migrants' province of origin and study the role of historical experiences of medieval republican governance, fascist propaganda, and shocks such as earthquakes.
- Lazzaroni, S. and N. Wagner (2016) 'Misfortunes never come singly: structural change multiple shocks and child malnutrition in rural Senegal’, Economics and Human Biology 23(December): 246–262. [Download pdf]
- Bergeijk, P.A.G. van and S. Lazzaroni (2015) ‘Macroeconomics of Natural Disasters: Strengths and Weaknesses of Meta-Analysis versus Review of the Literature’, Risk Analysis 35(6): 1050-1072. [Download pdf]
- Lazzaroni, S. and P.A.G. van Bergeijk (2014) ‘Natural Disasters Impact, Factors of Resilience and Development: A Meta Analysis of the Macroeconomic Literature’, Ecological Economics 107(11): 333-346. [Download pdf]
Old Working Papers
- Lazzaroni, S. and A.S. Bedi (2014) 'Weather variability and food consumption: Evidence from Rural Uganda’, ISS Working Paper 585. The Hague, Netherlands: International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam. [Download pdf]