Work in Progress
- Deep Determinants of Preferences over Political Institutions: Monarchy vs Republic in 1946 Italy
(with P. Buonanno, M. Cervellati and G. Prarolo)
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).
- The Legacy of Political History 1000-1800 for Attitudes Towards the State: Disaggregated Analysis for Italy
(with P. Buonanno, M. Cervellati and G. Prarolo)
The need to build fiscal capacity in the territories that gained independence from the Holy Roman Empire after 1000 lead to the emergence of political entities with more inclusive economic institutions. The long term exposure to higher individual freedom (of economic and political initiative) and more productive public policies affected the economic and political attitudes of the affected population and their descendants that persist still today. To test this hypothesis we reconstruct the political history of each location in Italy. To this end, we build a yearly panel with the emergence and changing borders of each political entity in Italy for the period 1000-1800. The results document that in the municipalities that belonged to these independent states tax evasion is significantly lower, that the effect increases with the duration of independence, is stronger in those places that achieved independence with respect to places annexed later, and it differs depending on the type of republican institution implemented (communal or maritime). These findings are corroborated by differential preindustrial development (measured by population density in a Malthusian perspective) in the locations of municipalities depending on the social contract experienced throughout the centuries.
- Sovereign polities, territorial control and city growth in pre-industrial Europe, 1000-1800
(with M. Cervellati, G. Prarolo and P. Vanin)
This paper investigates the role of the evolution of sovereign political entities and their control of territory for city growth in pre-industrial Europe. We use a novel database with information on the emergence, evolution and consolidation/disappearance of all sovereign political entities in Europe in pre-industrial times at yearly frequencies over the period 1000-1800. Using 10 by 10 Km grid-cell as stable units of observation we record information on the political history of each location in Europe. The data allow exploring the change in the number and size of ruling polities as well as their control of the territory. The baseline empirical analysis exploits within location variation overtime, accounting for (omitted) location specific characteristics, and for non-linear changes in population growth over-time. The results show that cities ruled by bigger political entities grow significantly faster only after 1600. In terms of territorial stability, cities facing more changes in political rulers grew more during the disaggregation of the Holy Roman Empire with the positive effect peaking in 1400 but grew significantly less during the process of state formation after 1600. The political fractionalization of the territory is found to be the main determinant of ruling instability.
- Pattern of Population Development in Pre-Industrial Europe
(with M. Cervellati and G. Prarolo)
The project studies population growth, that in a Malthusian perspective is taken as a proxy for economic development for the pre-industrial era. Population disaggregate data at the 5 minutes longitude/latitude resolution allows studying the implications for the pre-industrial patterns of agglomeration and population movement across European locations. Information on exogenous health shocks (e.g. the Black Death of 1350), natural disasters (earthquakes), and climate shocks can also be used to study the interactions between political institutions and exogenous shocks for historical development in the different locations. For instance the historical literature has argued that the drop in population following the Black Death, and the need to attract labor force, induced a change in policies and differential migration across different locations. We particularly investigate the cases of Italy and UK.
- Macroeconomic resilience to natural disasters: an investigation of the omitted-variable bias