Macrohistory Seminar – James Fenske (University of Warwick) Pre-Colonial Warfare and Long-Run Development in India

Event details

  • Thursday, December 13
  • 12:15 PM
  • Kaiserplatz 7-9, 4th floor, Room 4.006
Pre-Colonial Warfare and Long-Run Development in India

This paper analyzes the relationship between pre-colonial warfare and long-run development patterns within India. We construct a new, geocoded database of historical conflicts on the Indian subcontinent, which we use to compute measures of local exposure to pre-colonial warfare. We document a positive and significant relationship between pre-colonial conflict exposure and local economic development levels across India today. The main results are robust to numerous checks, including controls for colonial-era institutions, ethnic fractionalization, and colonial-era and post-colonial conflict. We show evidence that the early development of fiscal capacity, greater political stability, and basic public goods investments are channels through which pre-colonial warfare has influenced local economic development outcomes.

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