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Marriott Philadelphia Downtown, Meeting Room 305
Economic History Association
Peasants, Serfs, and Capitalists
Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM
- Chair: Noel Maurer, George Washington University
The Effect of Serfdom on Labor Markets
AbstractThis research contributes to the debate on whether restrictions on labor mobility, such as serfdom and other types of labor coercion, matter for labor market outcomes. To do so, we estimate the impact of a large shock to labor mobility in the form of the reintroduction of serfdom in Denmark in 1733 which was targeted at limiting the mobility of farmhands. While many economists, historians and others have argued that serfdom mattered, revisionist historians have countered that workers found ways to circumvent the restrictions imposed by serfdom. Using a unique data source based on 18th century estates, we test whether serfdom affected the wages of farmhands more strongly than other groups in the labor market using a differences-in-differences approach, and find evidence consistent with a strong negative effect on serfdom following its introduction. We also investigate whether one mechanism was that boys with rural backgrounds were prevented from taking up apprenticeships in towns, and find suggestive evidence that this was indeed the case. Thus, our results suggest that serfdom did matter.
Discrimination, Market Entry Barriers, and Corporations in Imperial Russia
AbstractIn late Imperial Russia, prior to 1889, a large share of private capital was invested in state and state-subsidized assets. After a sudden change in government policy in 1889-1894, this capital was freed and needed to be reinvested in the private sector, creating competitive pressure in capital-intensive industries. We argue that some capitalists in capital-intensive industries sought to limit market entry by appealing to nationalist rhetoric: they lobbied the government to preclude Jews from creating corporations in those industries. We test our proposition using the RUSCORP database of manufacturing corporations created in 1891-1902 (Owen, 1992) and novel datasets on anti-Jewish restrictions and on Russian factories in 1890. We show that restrictions against Jews were more likely to be imposed in medium capital-intensive industries than in low-capital intensive industries, both preemptively and retrospectively. At the same time, such restrictions were relatively rare in high-capital intensive industries, which suggests that influential Jewish incumbents enjoyed governmental protection.
Buying off the Revolution: Evidence from the Colombian National Peasant Movement 1957-1985.
AbstractThis paper studies the relationship between a democratic reform and redistribution during periods of revolutionary threats. Far from causing an increase in broad redistribution (e.g. social spending), I show that the state organization of a social movement that extends the political rights of the threatening group can be used to identify rebel leaders and provide private goods to them, in return for preventing social unrest and demobilizing their supporters. I study the context of the organization by the state of the most important social movement in Colombian history -the National Peasant Movement (ANUC)- during the decades of a threat of Communist revolution (1957-1985), when the government gave ANUC direct political participation at the local level in the executive branch and economic support. Using three newly digitized data sets of Colombian municipalities, I find that this reform did not lead to higher broad redistribution towards the peasantry but it led to an increase in targeted redistribution in terms of public jobs and lands. In particular, by matching the names of the peasant leaders to the beneficiaries of the land reform, evidence suggests that peasant leaders disproportionately benefited from land reform, especially in municipalities where the communist threat was higher. Finally, I find suggestive evidence that buying off the rebel leaders was an effective counter-revolutionary strategy as it led to less revolutionary activities after the support to ANUC was terminated (1972-1985).
University of Connecticut
University of Arizona
- N0 - General