As promised, we’re doing another post to highlight candidates who do HPE and who are on the job market! Our prior post can be seen here, and if you are on the job market and would like to be featured in future posts, email email@example.com.
These papers are all also great examples of up-and-coming work in HPE, so please share, cite, invite them to conferences, and contact the authors about their work!
Does Proportional Representation Increase Redistribution? Evidence from Early 20th Century Norwegian Municipalities
Countries that use proportional representation (PR) tend to have higher levels of redistribution. However, persuasive research on electoral system choice has demonstrated that countries only adopt PR under particular circumstances, such as the presence of a strong left-wing opposition or a need for coordination between opposing economic actors. I therefore ask if the strong relationship between the use of PR and redistribution is due to PR electoral rules or to these background factors. Taking advantage of an electoral reform to early 20th-century Norwegian local elections, I find that municipalities that were mandated to use PR increased tax rates and resources spent on the poor but also redistributed less in the first place. I further show that the reform did not increase left-wing party seat shares but did increase political mobilization. This evidence is consistent with moderate parties increasing redistribution in order to preempt left-wing party gains.
The Unequal Spirit of the Protestant Reformation: Religious Confession and Wealth Distribution in Early Modern Germany
This paper studies the impact of the Protestant Reformation on wealth inequality in confessionally divided Germany, between 1400 and 1800. The Reformation exacerbated inequality. Yet I do not find evidence of higher top wealth shares in Protestant communities, contrary to the argument of Max Weber about typically Protestant capital accumulation. Instead I find a negative effect of the Reformation on the wealth shares of lower classes of society, making poor people comparatively poorer and widening the gap between them and the rest of the population. The result is driven by the reallocation of economic resources away from poor relief, and the introduction of novel, secular but exclusionary and ungenerous poor relief insti- tutions in Protestant communities. These brought about a new low-redistribution equilibrium, which originated in reformers’ stigmatising ideological stance towards poverty and organisational changes to welfare provision. The inegalitarian character of Protestantism, typically found in contemporary societies, can be traced back to the beginning of the Reformation in the sixteenth century. Difference-in-differences results are not explained by pre-trends and are confirmed by instrumental variable estimates.
Sibling Gender, Inheritance Norms and Educational Attainment: Evidence from Matrilineal and Patrilineal Societies
Using data from 27 Sub-Saharan African countries, I study how sibling gender affects the education outcomes of children and how these effects vary across ethnic groups with different inheritance norms. In patrilineal societies, male-owned property is generally inherited by sons, while in matrilineal societies, property is often inherited by the sons of a man’s sister. Boys who inherit their father’s property experience no effect of sibling gender, while there is a significant negative effect of having a brother for boys who do not. Girls experience a small negative effect of having a brother relative to a sister, regardless of inheritance norms. These results suggest that parents substitute between transferring property to their children and investing in their education. Exploiting quasi-random variation in national-level reforms, I provide evidence that laws guaranteeing the inheritance of property by one’s children work to lessen this effect and that reducing the cost of schooling mitigates gaps in educational attainment caused by sibling gender. These findings underline the importance of culture in determining the outcomes of children and that policy can play a role in counteracting undesirable cultural practices.
Refugees and the Radical Right: Evidence from post-WWII Forced Migrations
Do refugees reshape long-term political behavior in receiving areas? I argue that the experience of forced migration can foster a strong group identity among refugees, which can mobilize them toward political parties that champion their identity-based grievances. To test this argument, I examine how one of the largest forced migrations in modern history, the expulsion of ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe into Germany after WWII, shaped their electoral behavior over time. Using an original database of district-level data from 32 elections spanning a century, I find that communities which received greater shares of expellees remain more supportive of the radical right over time. This relationship is particularly manifest when identity-based grievances are unresolved and politically salient. Mechanism evidence, including novel data on expellee monuments and associations, suggests that a durable expellee identity helps account for these results. My analysis reveals an enduring behavioral legacy resulting from forced migration.
How Criminal Organizations Expand to Strong States: Migrant Exploitation and Political Brokerage in Northern Italy
The widespread presence of criminal organizations in strong states presents a theoretical and empirical puzzle. How do criminal organizations — widely believed to thrive in weak states —expand to states with strong capacity? I argue that criminal groups expand where they can strike agreements with local actors for the provision of illegal resources they control, and that this practice is particularly profitable in strong states where using illegal resources is risky. Using a novel measure of organized crime presence, I show that (1) increases in demand for unskilled labor, and in criminals’ capacity to fill it by exploiting migrants allowed southern Italian mafias to expand to the north, and that (2) mafia expansion gave a persistent electoral advantage to political parties collaborating with them. This suggests that criminal organizations should be reconceptualized not only as substitutes for weak states but also as complements to strong states.