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Elias Papaioannou: Pre-Colonial Ethnic Institutions and Contemporary African Development

In this episode we chat with Elias Papaioannou about his paper “Pre-Colonial Ethnic Institutions and Contemporary African Development’”. Elias and his co-author, Stelios Michalopoulos, investigate the role of deeply rooted pre-colonial ethnic institutions in shaping comparative regional development within African countries. They find a strong positive association between pre-colonial political complexity and contemporary development Paper…

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Raul Sanchez de la Sierra: The Origins of the State

In this episode we chat with Raul Sanchez de la Sierra about his paper “On the Origins of the State: Stationary Bandits and Taxation in Eastern Congo’”. Raul, in his paper, finds that armed actors may create “essential functions of a state” to better expropriate, which, depending on their goals, can increase welfare. Paper link:…

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Stelios Michalopoulos: The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa

In this episode we chat with Stelios Michalopoulos about his paper “The long-run effects of the ‘Scramble for Africa’”. Stelios and his co-author, Elias Papaioannou, look into the effect imposed borders had on splitting ethnicities across countries in Africa. They find that colonial border designs have spurred political violence and that ethnic partitioning is systematically…

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Paola Giuliano: The Origins of Gender Roles

In this episode we chat with Paola Giuliano about her paper​ “On the Origins of Gender Roles: Women and the Plough”. Paola and her co-authors, Alberto Alesina and Nathan Nunn, study the historical origins of existing cross-cultural differences in beliefs and values regarding the appropriate role of women in society.They test the hypothesis that traditional…

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Bishnupriya Gupta: India’s Transition from a Colonial Economy

In this episode we chat with Gupta Bishnupriya about her paper​ “Falling Behind and Catching up — India’s Transition from a Colonial Economy”. Gupta study how India fell behind during colonial rule. Inadequate investment in agriculture and consequent decline in yield per acre stalled economic growth. Modern industries emerged and grew relatively fast. The reversal…

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Leonard Wantchekon: The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa

In this episode we chat with Leonard Wantchekon about his paper​ “The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa”. Leonard and his co-author, Nathan Nunn, study why the current differences in trust levels within Africa can be traced back to the transatlantic and Indian Ocean slave trades. Combining contemporary individual-level survey data with…

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Sara Lowes: the Legacy of Colonial Medicine in Central Africa

In this episode we chat with Sara Lowes about her paper​ “The Legacy of Colonial Medicine in Central Africa”. Sara and her co-author study how the delivery of health aid can be jeopardised by distrust at the local level. Using evidence from French military campaigns in Cameroon and former French Equatorial Africa they show that…

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Davide Ticchi: Political Economy of Science, Religion, and Growth

In this episode we chat with Davide Ticchi about his paper​ “Forbidden Fruits: The Political Economy of Science, Religion, and Growth”. Davide and his co-authors study the coevolution of religion, science and politics and they find a negative relationship between religiosity and patents per capita. They categorized three different regimes and outcomes. Western-European Secularization regime…

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Luigi Pascali: Maritime Technology, Trade and Development in the 20th century

In this episode we chat with Luigi Pascali about his paper​ “The Wind of Change: Maritime Technology, Trade, and Economic Development”. Luigi finds that the introduction of the steamship in the shipping industry produced an asymmetric change in trade distances among countries. Before this invention, trade routes depended on wind patterns. The steamship reduced shipping…

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Melanie Xue: the impact of Folklore on culture end economics

In this episode we chat with Melanie Xue about her paper​ “Folklore”. Melanie and her co-author, Stelios Michalopoulos, focus their research on Folklore, interpreted as the collection of traditional beliefs, customs, and stories of a community passed through the generations by word of mouth. They find that societies with tales portraying men as dominant and…

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