Selected Work in Progress
Old Working Papers
- Abraham, S.S., Lanzara, G., Lazzaroni, S., Masella, P., and M.P. Squicciarini (forthcoming) 'Spatial and Historical Drivers of Fake News Diffusion: Evidence from Anti-Muslim Discrimination in India’, Journal of Urban Economics.
- Buonanno, P., Cervellati, M., Lazzaroni, S. and G. Prarolo (2022) 'Historical Social Contracts and their Legacy: A Disaggregated Analysis of the Medieval Republics’, Journal of Economic Growth 27: 485-526. [Download pdf] 27, pages485–5262 [CEPR DP]
- 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]
- An Economic Theory of the Evolution of the States System, and Evidence for Europe 1000-1800 [CEPR DP] [pdf]
(with M. Cervellati, G. Prarolo and P. Vanin) [Submitted]
We provide a theory and empirical evidence on the evolution of the state system in pre-industrial Europe. We study sovereign polities with a fiscal, regulatory and military capacity that is imperfect and declining in space. Ruling elites make strategic non-cooperative investments in state capacity to maximize rents. The resulting territorial competition shapes the equilibrium evolution
of the state system. Increasing productive potential imply changes in the type, size and number of polities and impact the distribution of economic activity across space. We assemble geo-referenced yearly data on all sovereign polities ruling over Europe 1000-1800. We document highly non-monotonic patterns of (dis)aggregation of political geography and transition phases with spikes in wars prior to the emergence of modern territorial countries. Estimates of the impact of political geography on local (city) growth document a changing role of type and size of polities and a reversal of the role of centrality within polities.
- Do Bishops Matter for Politics? Evidence from Italy [pdf]
(with G. Lanzara, P. Masella, and M. P. Squicciarini) [submitted]
This paper studies whether and how religious leaders affect politics. Focusing on Italian dioceses in the period from 1948 to 1992, we find that the identity of the bishop in office explains a significant amount of the variation in the vote share for the Christian Democracy party (DC). This result is robust to several exercises that use different samples and time windows. Zooming into the mechanism, we find that two characteristics of the bishop matter: (i) his political culture, and (ii) his interaction with the population -the latter being measured using state-of-the-art text-analysis techniques.
- The Dynamics of Discrimination and Assimilation: Theory and Evidence [pdf]
(with G. Lanzara, P. Masella, and M. P. Squicciarini) [Revision requested at the Journal of Public Economics]
This paper provides a unified framework to study the interactions between a minority group, a majority group, and political leaders. Theoretically, we set up a dynamic model of discrimination and assimilation choices and characterize the effect of a shock to the return to discriminatory actions. Empirically, we use text-analysis techniques on a novel dataset of tweets of “White American” and Chinese users from January to August 2020. We show that anti-Chinese discrimination increased following the COVID-19 outbreak and Trump’s tweet referring to COVID-19 as “Chinese virus.” In response, Chinese users tweeted assimilation-related content and criticism against the Chinese Communist Party.
- Ideological Contagion and Populism: Evidence from Argentina [old version] [New version coming soon]
This paper studies the transmission of political ideologies between two countries. I study the diffusion of Populism in Argentina from 1946 through the lenses of the Italian mass migration wave (1880-1945). I hypothesize that populist aspects of Mussolini’s Fascist ideology spread to Argentina through migrants, contributing to the rise of Peronism. I focus on Italo-Argentine members of the Argentine parliament and reconstruct their Italian province of origin leveraging on the distribution of surnames and machine learning techniques. Exploiting the timing of migration, a plausibly exogenous measure of exposure to Fascism, and the occurrence of strong earthquakes as push factor for migration, I show that Italo-Argentine MPs with ancestors/relatives migrated during Mussolini’s rise have a higher probability to be affiliated to the Peronist party. Findings are robust to samples perturbations, placebo tests, and several specification checks. The relationship is stronger in more recent years (after 1983), while it is not significant during earlier Peronist presidencies (1946-1955). I show that during Perón’s first mandates the probability to be affiliated to the Peronist party is rather associated with having families migrated during Mussolini’s regime. I provide suggestive evidence that ideological transmission occurred through a combination of transmission along (most likely horizontal) family lines and Italian social networks.
Selected Work in Progress
- History, Culture, and Preferences over Democratic Institutions
(with M. Cervellati and G. Plevani) [Draft coming soon]
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).
- Borders and Conflicts in Europe 1000-1800
(with M. Cervellati, M. Onorato, and P. Vanin) [Draft coming soon]
This paper provides a first attempt of systematic empirical investigation of the time-varying relationship between borders and conflicts in European history. We assemble a novel geo-referenced database with information on conflicts and borders in Europe from the year 1000 to 1800, with a panel structure at quarter of century frequency and 0.5x0.5 decimal degrees grid-cells as units of observation. Accounting for grid-cell and polity by time fixed effects, we show that, even before the emergence of the Westphalian state system, conflict was significantly more likely on and around contestable and salient borders (i.e., borders without mountains, crossed by roads, and close to urban centers). These results confirm predictions on the relevance of territoriality for conflict in pre-industrial Europe.
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]