The Legacy of Stalin in Georgia: Ideological Consequences of Hometown Effect
Denis Ivanov (Higher School of Econoimics)

Abstract : I study role of sharing region of birth with a prominent political figure on ideological views of local inhabitants (hometown effect). I consider the case of popularity of the late Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin (born Jughashvili) in Georgia and in particular in its Eastern part where Gori, his hometown, is located. Today, the Eastern Georgia retains many elements of Stalin’s personality cult, like museums and statues, although there is no evidence that left-wing views were particularly popular in the Eastern Georgia before Stalin’s reign, or that the region was hit particularly hard by the hardships of the transition to the market. I use the share of surnames with ending shvili across the Georgian municipalities to measure local inhabitants’ affinity to Stalin according to Caucasus Barometer 2012. I show that respondents in high-shvili municipalities are more likely to hold positive view of Stalin and his deeds, controlling for an extensive set of socio-demographic variables. On the second stage, I instrument the Stalinism index with the share of shvili surnames in municipality and show that Stalinism is positively related to approval of government ownership of businesses, opposition to Georgia’s accession to EU and NATO, and dissatisfaction with compensation for a respondent’s work. These results imply that regional affinity even to a late but prominent politician can affect individual ideological positions on a broad range of contemporary issues. Also, the hometown effect is stronger for people socialized after the independence, when centralized ideology broadcasting ceased, and people got more chances to be socialized within the local culture.

Institutions and Economic Development: Lessons from Haiti’s Economic History
Craig Palsson (Naval Postgraduate School)

Abstract : This dissertation gleans lessons on institutions and economic development by looking at Haiti's historical experience. Chapter 1. Many developing countries are stuck in small, low-productivity farms. Such countries also have poor property rights institutions, which create transaction costs towards reallocating land to large farms. I look at how transaction costs from historical property rights institutions affected the agricultural structure of Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Using a simple model and new data on land adoption in Haiti from 1928 to 1950, I find transaction costs prevented farmers from starting large farms. The results imply that development policy might require violating property rights to achieve the optimal agricultural distribution Chapter 2. Many developing countries have not established secure property rights despite the benefits found in the literature. In this paper, I examine whether the beneficiaries of property rights reforms support the reforming party. I test this hypothesis using Haiti’s 2014 cattle registration program, which increased property rights over some livestock but not others. In the 2015 election, districts with more beneficiaries voted more for the incumbent party. The results suggest countries with weak property rights sacrifice not only economic benefits, but political gains as well. Chapter 3. The final chapter examines the roll state capacity plays in respecting property rights.

Prison Guards Vs. Postmen: Settler Mortality, British Colonial Officers, and the Impact of World War Ii
Valentin Seidler (University of Vienna)

Abstract : How persistent is the effect of early European colonization on current institutions in former colonies? An important school of thought argues that European settlers adopted their colonial policies in response to initial disease environments. Where disease conditions were hostile to settlement, Europeans were more likely to pursue extractive colonial policies (Acemoglu et al. 2001). However, the persistence of the effect of the early settler mortality rates on modern day institutions has been debated by others (Austin 2008, Maseland 2017). This paper argues that the movement and mixing of officials and populations caused by World War II makes a persistent effect very unlikely. We use newly collected biographical data for the 14,000 senior colonial officers who served in 54 British colonies between 1939 and 1966. The colonial administrations employed a wide range of professions, and we observe substantial variation in the mix of professions across these 54 British colonies. If the latter-day colonial institutional regimes were indeed based on early settlement conditions, then the distribution of professions within each colony should be consistent over the period 1939-1966. Extractive colonial regimes for example, would steadily employ more prison guards and policemen than, say, postmen and teachers. For the first time, the fine-grained biographical data for senior British officers allow us to test this assumption empirically. Preliminary results show a connection between early settler mortality rates and the distribution of professions within colonies. (The robustness of results varies across regions.) Subsequent conscription and movement of troops during WWII led to a geographic relocations for the officers, which can be followed through their detailed biographical records. After 1945 we find no robust connection between early settler mortality rates and the distribution of professions in the colonial administrations.