Northwestern Events Calendar


Economic History Lunch Seminar

When: Friday, April 28, 2023
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CT

Where: Kellogg Global Hub, 3301, 2211 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Mariya Acherkan  

Group: Department of Economics: Economic History Lunch Seminar

Category: Academic, Lectures & Meetings


Lakshmi Iyer (University of Notre Dame)

Alex Lehner (UChicago)

Lakshmi Iyer title: No Taxation Without Representation? Evidence from Colonial India

Alex Lehner Title: Culture, Institutions, and the Roots of Gender Inequality: 450 Years of Portuguese Colonialism in India 

Lakshmi Iyer Abstract: I describe the construction of two new databases which track local government expenditures in urban and rural colonial India, respectively. The completed database will include more than 500 cities across 200 districts and four decades. We plan to use these data to investigate questions related to the fiscal effects of elected representation, to track the evolution of property wealth and inter-city trade and to examine how capital accumulation and human development respond to local taxation and spending decisions. Preliminary results from a small part of the database suggest that greater elected representation is associated with a greater share of local spending devoted to education. 

Alex Lehner Abstract: When are economic phenomena persistent over time, and when are they not? If they are, do inequalities persist forever, or do they converge, and if so, at what speed? By analyzing the Indian state of Goa, this research makes use of a historical quasi-natural experiment to study the effect of Portuguese (catholic) colonialism. To achieve econometric identification, I apply a spatial regression discontinuity design alongside a border that was abandoned in the 18th century. I establish that historical disparities in female education can be overcome, albeit much slower than for males. In contrast, male-biased sex ratios stay virtually unchanged - highlighting the differential degree persistence of deeply rooted preferences. This provides a rare opportunity to isolate and identify the effect of culture, holding constant geography, income, and institutions.


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