A Network of Thrones: Kinship and Conflict in Europe, 1495-1918
Seth G. Benzell
- American Economic Journal: Applied Economics (Forthcoming)
We construct a database linking European royal kinship networks,
monarchies, and wars to study the effect of family ties on conflict.
To establish causality, we exploit decreases in connection caused
by apolitical deaths of rulers' mutual relatives. These deaths are
associated with substantial increases in the frequency and duration of war. We provide evidence that these deaths affect conflict
only through changing the kinship network. Over our period of
interest, the percentage of European monarchs with kinship ties
increased threefold. Together, these findings help explain the well-
documented decrease in European war frequency.
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