A new method from Ferrara, Yeob, and Walsh turns keyword frequencies in historical newspapers into new geographically-varied measures of treatment that can help us thwart attenuation bias.
Farmers (and their census enumeration) can pose a number of data problems in historical empirical research: occupation scores, earnings variability, and more. Can we just drop farmers from the sample?
During my undergraduate economic history course, I teach a lecture on innovation. I start the class with a look at American life in the 19th century. If you’re into giving thanks, being thankful for innovation and not being born 200 years ago might not be a bad place to start. Rudyard Kipling said of Chicago … Continue reading The Political Economy Effects Agricultural Innovation
A lot of great historical data comes from old maps. In my first assignment for my undergraduates, I have students go and find a cool map and ask a question with it. Here's some of what they found and asked.
“Can societies collectively become more or less depressed over time?” A recent paper published in PNAS asks (and answers) that big, bold question. The authors go looking for “markets of cognitive distortions” in the Google Books corpus (English, Spanish, and German languages), a corpus that covers more than a century of the written word. The … Continue reading Friends Don’t Let Friends Use Google NGrams
Scholars of historical political economy should add record and census linking to our toolkit
What were the effects of the capital destruction wrecked on the South during Sherman's March? Comparing neighboring counties that differ only on whether or not they were unlucky enough to be in the way of Sherman’s scorched earth campaign, new work shows that destruction did have significant medium-run effects on the southern economy.
Before Johnny Cash shot a man in Reno to watch him die or met his true love in the North Country or got the blues in Folsom Prison, he spent his boyhood in Dyess Colony. I might know much more about Cash’s upbringing, but Walk the Line opens with an ominous shot of a table … Continue reading Dyess Colony and Experiments in Rural Relief During the Great Depression
A pretty major trial concluded on Saturday in the US Senate, as you might have heard. Despite a 57-43 majority voting to convict President Trump, he was officially acquitted, the Senate requiring a two-thirds majority in impeachment trials. The reality that a simple majority in the Senate isn’t enough to get something passed (most of … Continue reading Jury Trials, Impeachment and Otherwise
2021's economic history job market papers span centuries, continents, and fields