Adventures with an (Almost) Amazing Dataset

This post is about an amazing dataset that looks reliable at first glance but has some serious issues when you look closer.[1] The individual errors are small, subtle, and hard to spot. When added together, though, they can cause big problems for HPE researchers. Before I get into the details about the specific dataset—why so … Continue reading Adventures with an (Almost) Amazing Dataset

Policy, History, and Mexico-U.S. Migration

Not unlike his predecessor, Joe Biden began his presidency with a series of executive actions on immigration and border security, including halting construction of the border wall, preserving DACA protections, pausing deportations (or attempting to), ending the “Muslim ban” on travel, and ending new enrollment in the Migrant Protection Protocols policy (i.e., the “remain in … Continue reading Policy, History, and Mexico-U.S. Migration

The Creation and Survival of Unreliable Data: Mexico’s 1921 Census

Those who have been following the ongoing political developments over the 2020 Census in the United States (not to mention recent posts on Broadstreet) will need no reminder that the process of counting the national population is complicated and political. Beyond the consequences for apportionment and federal transfers, the official census figures that emerge from … Continue reading The Creation and Survival of Unreliable Data: Mexico’s 1921 Census

Physical Geography and Historical Political Economy

By many measures, Mexico City is in a terrible location. Wedged between volcanic mountains in a highland basin on top of a filled lakebed, the geography of the city leaves it vulnerable to earthquakes and volcanoes, as well as to cycles of flooding and drought. Once called the “most polluted city in the word,” its … Continue reading Physical Geography and Historical Political Economy

Archival Silences and Historical Political Economy

Pandemics are political, as Alexandra Cirone highlighted in an earlier post. Motivated by the numerous examples of official corruption during the COVID-19 crisis, Francisco Garfias and I decided to investigate how epidemics shaped the potential for rent extraction and the value of holding office in colonial Mexico. This required us to construct a dataset of … Continue reading Archival Silences and Historical Political Economy