[gov3009-l] Applied Statistics Workshop

Dana Higgins danahiggins at fas.harvard.edu
Mon Sep 1 22:02:38 EDT 2014

Dear all,

I hope everyone has had a relaxing summer! I am the new graduate student
coordinator for the Applied Statistics Workshop (Gov 3009) at IQSS this
semester and would like to invite all of you to attend the workshop. The
workshop features a multidisciplinary forum for presenting research with
statistical innovations and applications. Starting with Wednesday, Sept. 3,
we will meet every Wednesday from 12-1:30 pm in CGIS-Knafel 354 (1737
Cambridge Street). As always, lunch will be provided.

Please note that you don’t have to formally enroll in the workshop to
attend. Furthermore, if you would like your name to be added to the mailing
list, please let me know.

Our first speaker is Eric Chaney from the Harvard Department of Economics.
 The title of his presentation is "The Medieval Origins of Comparative
European Development: Evidence from the Basque Country." The abstract is

Check out the new website to see the schedule for the first few weeks.
Thank you!

-- Dana Higgins


This paper investigates the present-day economic impact of medieval
republican institutions along the historical borders of the Basque Country
in Spain and France. I present evidence suggesting that medieval republican
institutions have had a lasting effect: in Spain the drop in incomes along
the Basque border is similar to that between the richest and poorest areas
of the euro zone today. Using present-day and historical data, I
investigate the mechanisms through which these medieval institutions have
had enduring effects. Although I find evidence of significant cultural
differences at the Basque border, results using institutional variation
generated by the partition of Basque regions between France and Spain cast
doubt on claims that these cultural differences are the fundamental cause
behind today's economic differences. In addition, I track the evolution of
a variety of variables in the border region back in time. While
institutional differences remain observable in the 18th century, all other
observable differences between Basque and surrounding areas vanish or
become negative by this date. When taken in unison, the results suggest the
importance of the historical emergence of republican institutions -and
their subsequent persistence- in generating within-European differences in
economic outcomes today.
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