Northwestern Events Calendar


Economic History Lunch Seminar

When: Friday, May 5, 2023
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Central

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


Carlo Medici (Northwestern University)

Title: The Impact of the Chinese Exclusion Act on the U.S. Economy

Matteo Ruzzante (Northwestern University)

Title: Revenge is best served cold: Brigandage and Monarchical Legitimacy in Southern Italy 

Carlo Medici Abstract: This paper examines the economic effects of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned Chinese immigration to the United States, across US counties between 1860 and 1940. The Act reduced the size of the Chinese population and employment in all major economic sectors, and lowered the quality of jobs among the Chinese who remained. Contrary to the expectations of its proponents, the Act also reduced the employment and the income of white workers, both native and foreign-born ones, and had sharp negative effects on manufacturing and agriculture. The negative impact of the Act was concentrated in the western United States, where the majority of Chinese immigrants lived in 1880, and persisted until at least 1940. 

Matteo Ruzzante Abstract:

Abstract: The power and tenure of kings rest upon the ability of providing order when coordination costs are high. Yet, cultural and institutional incongruities can weaken their traditional authority and lead to revolts. This paper studies whether an historical shock in the legitimacy of monarchic rule can have long-term, intergenerational consequences on political attitudes. The unification of Italy ignited a violent reaction against the new ruler in its Southern provinces, known as the 

“Great Brigandage”. This uprising was effectively quelled by repressive military operations but left an indelible mark in the collective memory. We show that, ceteris 

paribus, municipalities exposed to brigandage in the 1861-1870 period had lower turnout in the 1946 Institutional Referendum and were significantly less likely to vote for the survival of the monarchy. These results are reflected in increased support for anti-monarchist parties in the simultaneous Constituent Assembly election. We interpret our findings as evidence that latent preferences toward political systems are endogenously shaped by historical events and can be brought to the surface by changes in the institutional environment. 

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