Economics of Culture and Religion
Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM (PDT)
- Chair: Jared Rubin, Chapman University
Those Who Stayed: Selection and Cultural Change during the Age of Mass Migration
AbstractThis paper studies the cultural causes and consequences of mass emigration from Scandinavia in the 19th century. I test the hypothesis that people with individualistic traits were more likely to emigrate, because they faced lower costs of leaving established social networks behind. Data from population censuses and passenger lists confirm this hypothesis. Children who grew up in households with nonconformist naming practices, nuclear family structures, and weak ties to parents’ birthplaces were on average more likely to emigrate later in life. Selection was weaker under circumstances that reduced the social costs of emigration. This was the case with larger migration networks abroad, and in situations where people emigrated collectively. Based on these findings, I expect emigration to generate cultural change towards reduced individualism in migrant-sending locations, through a combination of initial compositional effects and intergenerational cultural transmission. This is confirmed in a cross-district setting with measures of actual cultural change over the medium and long run.
Collateral Damage: The Legacy of Laos Secret War
AbstractAs part of its counterinsurgency operations in Southeast Asia, the U.S. conducted a ''Secret War'' in Laos from 1964-1973, making it the most heavily bombed country per capita in human history. Today, Laos remains severely contaminated with UXO (unexploited ordnance) and is one of the poorest countries in the world. This project documents the negative long-term impact of conflict on economic development, using highly disaggregated data on bombing campaigns and nighttime satellites. We find a negative and economically meaningful impact of bombings on nighttime lights. Almost 40 years after the end of the conflict, bombed regions are not only poorer but also growing at slower rates than not bombed ones. One standard deviation increase in the total pounds of bombs expended during the war is associated with a 34% decrease in the total nighttime lights compared to their mean. These effects correspond to a 9.3% fall in GDP per capita. To deal with the potential endogeneity of conflict, we use as instruments the distance of different locations within Laos from the Vietnamese Ho Chi Minh trail and the US military airbases outside the country. Using detailed census data at the village level, we explore channels of transmission of the income effect trough the role that the UXO contamination has had on health, education, settlement patterns, and, ultimately, its persistent effects on structural change.
- Z0 - General
- D0 - General