The Economic Effects of Catholic Church Censorship During the Counter-reformation

Sascha O. Becker (University of Warwick)
Francisco J. Pino (University of Chile)
Jordi Vidal-Robert (University of Sydney)

Abstract : Was censorship effective in 16th century European society? We present a new database of the population of books censored by the Catholic Church during the Counter-Reformation period (16th and beginning of 17th centuries) containing information on titles, authors, topics (religion, sciences, social sciences and arts), languages, georeferenced printing places and printers. We describe patterns of censorship across political entities in Europe over time, using the index produced in Rome (starting in 1564) as well as local indexes of prohibited books such as the Index of Louvain and the Index of the Spanish Inquisition. We then test the effects of censorship on the number of printed books, on the location of thinkers, on the spread of Protestantism and ultimately on city growth. Preliminary results suggest that Catholic censorship did have an impact on the publication of books, on the diffusion of knowledge and on economic growth

Custom, Formality and Comparative Development: Evidence from Admiralty Rule in Newfoundland

Blair Long (Queen's University)

Abstract : Institutions have become a paramount focus in the economics of growth. Institutions, however, can be formal - statutes, courts, and enforcement organizations - or informal - complex systems of cultural norms which constrain the behaviours of defectors. In this paper, I investigate the extent to which these two types of institutions interacted in determining comparative patterns of development within, and the general underdevelopment of the now Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. I leverage a natural experiment resulting from Newfoundland's confederation with Canada, exploiting geographic variation in the location of settlements identify the interaction of informal institutions that arose in early settlements with the formal institutions that were established later. Settlements established during Admiralty Rule in Newfoundland were characterized by limited formal governance and a heavy reliance on custom to protect property rights and solve other collective action problems. My results comprise an interesting case of "reversal of fortune": once prosperous early settlements experienced stagnant growth after confederation relative to settlements that emerged under formal institutions. This implies that customs in these early settlements, when interacting with Canadian institutions, undermined the efficacy of both types of institutional arrangements.

The Deep Roots of Rebellion: Evidence from the Irish Revolution

Gaia Narciso (Trinity College Dublin)
Battista Severgnini (Copenhagen Business School)

Abstract : What drives individuals to become insurgents? How do negative shocks explain social unrest in the long-run? This paper studies the triggers of rebellion at the individual level and explores the long-run inter-generational transmission of conflict, using a unique dataset constructed from administrative archives. Drawing on evidence from the Great Irish Famine (1845-1850) and its effect on the Irish Revolution against British rule (1913-1921), we find that rebels were more likely to be male, young, Catholic and literate. Moreover, we provide evidence showing that individuals whose families had been most affected by the Irish famine were more likely to participate in the rebellion. These findings are also confirmed when controlling for the level of economic development and other potential concurring factors, such as past revolutions and soil quality. Robustness checks based on the role of family names for studying socio-cultural persistence across generations support the above findings. The instrumental variable analysis, based on the extraordinary meteorological conditions that determined the spread of the potato blight that caused the famine, provides further evidence in support of the inter-generational legacy of rebellion.