- Labor economics
- Economic history
World War II and African American Socioeconomic Progress (job market paper)
This paper argues that the unprecedented socioeconomic rise of African Americans at mid-century was causally related to the labor shortages induced by WWII. Combining novel military and Census data in a difference-in-differences setting, results show that counties with an average casualty rate among semi-skilled whites experienced a 13 to 16% increase in the share of blacks in semi-skilled jobs. The casualty rate also positively relates to wages, home ownership, house values, and education for blacks. Using Southern survey data, IV regression results indicate that individuals in affected counties had more interracial friendships and reduced preferences for segregation in 1961. This is an example for how better labor market opportunities can improve both economic and social outcomes of a disadvantaged minority group.
We use the demographic shock of the U.S. Civil War to study the consequences of losing a father during childhood on long-term child development outcomes, as well as inter-generational effects on the grandchildren of the deceased soldiers. We link data from the universe of Union Army soldiers to the full-count U.S. Census to identify fathers who fought in the war, before linking the 1860 Census to later Censuses, following the children and grandchildren of soldiers over time. We instrument a father’s death probability by the casualty rate of his military unit. We show that these casualty rates are mainly determined by military strategy and not related to the socioeconomic composition of units.
Warfare, Local Political Institutions, and Fiscal Capacity: Evidence from Six Centuries of German History (with Sascha O. Becker, Eric Melander, and Luigi Pascali)
[Draft available on request.]
In this paper, we study the effect of warfare on the development of state capacity and representative political institutions using novel data on cities and territories in the German lands between 1200 and 1750. Using changes to German nobles' positions within the European nobility network to instrument for conflict, we find that cities with a higher conflict exposure develop more sophisticated tax systems. Additionally, councils in cities exposed to conflict are larger, more likely to be elected by citizens, and more likely to be independent of other local institutions. These results suggest that periods of warfare sharpen rulers' trade-offs between political power and their ability to tax.
[Presented at: UCLA, NYU Abu Dhabi, Warwick, at the World Economic History Congress in Boston, the Workshop on Growth, History and Development at the University of Southern Denmark, and at the ASREC Europe Conference in Bologna]
Forced migration as a consequence of wars, civil conflicts, or natural disasters may have consequences different from those of voluntary migration. Recent work has highlighted the consequences of forced migration on host populations, on migrants themselves and on populations at origin. We document findings from recent work, on education and other economic outcomes, but also on political outcomes. We summarize key lessons and point to gaps in the literature.