Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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Abstracts SoSe 2023

19. April 2023

Stefan Nikolić, PhD (Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics and Public Policy, Bocconi University)

"Spatial inequality in prices and wages: Town-level evidence from the First Globalisation."

This article leverages uniquely abundant town-level data to examine spatial inequality in prices and wages during the First Globalisation. I build a new dataset on prices of traded and household goods, and wages of skilled and unskilled workers for a panel of 42 towns in Serbia, in the period from 1863 to 1910. I apply the welfare ratio approach to calculate real wages of day labourers and masons. I find strong convergence in grain prices and costs of living, but divergence in wages, both nominal and real. I estimate panel-data models to explore drivers of inter-urban differences in prices and wages. The main results suggest that falling transport costs decreased price gaps, whereas rising population differences increased wage gaps. The findings are consistent with theoretical predictions of new economic geography and urban economics.

17. Mai 2023

Prof. Mario A. Maggioni, PhD (Università Cattolica del Sacro Curoe, Milan)

"The Elusive Quest: what I learned (and what I published) about experiments dealing with development and growth."

The talk will make reference to two published papers (and some related unpublished outcomes):

to discuss a number of issues arising when applying experimental and behavioral analysis techniques to measure policy interventions in the field of development. In particular specific reference to the methodological issue of deception vs. no-deceptions, actions vs self-descriptions, and the strength and limits of using game theory to elicit behavioral traits will be thoroughly discussed.

01. Juni 2023

Prof. Nuno Palma, PhD (University of Manchester)

"Justices of the Peace: Legal Foundations of the Industrial Revolution."

We study how legal capacity influenced economic development prior to and during the Industrial Revolution. The monarchy relied on local magistrates, known as Justices of the Peace (JPs), to enforce property rights and administer market regulation. We document that counties with more JPs in 1700 experienced more economic growth over the following 140 years, and regions most associated with the Industrial Revolution were among those with the most JPs. We provide evidence concerning the mechanism and channels at play.

14. Juni 2023

Prof. Georgios Chortareas, PhD (King’s College London)

"Equilibrium Real Interest Rates and Monetary Policy (Mis)perceptions."

This paper considers central banker’s (mis)perceptions about the natural equilibrium real interest rate and their implications for the setting of monetary policy in the United States. We obtain the implied equilibrium real interest rate by estimating central bank reaction functions. We use a time-varying random-coefficient framework, which incorporates a novel kernel-weighted continuously updating time-varying generalised methods of moments approach. To obtain a perception-free estimate of the natural rate of interest, which constitutes our benchmark, we use a semi-structural framework. The findings document the Federal Reserve’s historical conduct of monetary policy and explain key periods of macroeconomic instability in which policymakers either underestimate or overestimate the natural rate of interest.

28. Juni 2023

Prof. Jordi Domènech, PhD (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

"Land Reform and Rural Voting in Interwar Europe: Evidence from Spain before Civil War."

This paper looks at the impact of land reform on Leftist vote during the first free elections in Spain during the Second Republic (1931-1936). Although landlessness was associated with a larger share of votes going to Leftist parties or coalitions, we find additional positive and substantive effects of land re-distributions on voting for parties committed to re-distribution. Because these effects are not apparent in electoral participation, we argue land reform changed the vote of marginal landless voters who would have voted Rightist, pro-landowner options. These effects are stronger for 1933, when groups of landless peasants had been settled in some municipalities, than in 1936, after these same settlers had been evicted from the land and unions and Socialists local councils were repressed. Results from 1933 also suggest that land reform favoured Socialists, not other Leftist or Centre-Left parties. Giving land to the landless did not appease the revolutionary tendencies of the rural poor.

12. Juli 2023

Dr. Chris Colvin (Senior Lecturer in Economics, Queen's University Belfast)

"Mind Your Language: The Decline of the Irish Language in the Nineteenth Century."

Matching complete individual-level data from the 1901 population census to highly disaggregated GIS data, we trace the rapid retreat of the Irish-speaking frontier westwards over the nineteenth century. We find that intergenerational language transmission played a key role and occurred across multiple geographical strata. While Irish-speaking within households mattered, we show that Irish-speaking among the previous generation in a person’s district was just as important for language retention. Furthermore, our results highlight the importance of education. However, the individual-level relationship between English literacy and Irish-speaking in post-Famine birth cohorts is primarily driven by differences in pre-Famine literacy at the district level. Since pre- Famine literacy rates predate the establishment of Ireland’s national schooling system, this suggests that education’s influence on Irish speaking was driven by economic incentives rather than the activities within the nascent school system. Finally, we highlight several smaller additional economic, cultural, and social forces.

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