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Seminarios académicos y conferencias

Remi Jedwab, George Washington University

Economic Shocks, Inter-Ethnic Complementarities and the Persecution of Minorities: Evidence from the Black Death

coautores: Noel Johnson (GMU) y Mark Koyama (GMU)

24 Noviembre 2016 - 15:30 hrs.

Sala por definir, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Administrativas UC

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The Black Death pogroms (1348-1353) were among the largest persecutions against a minority group in premodern history. Minorities are often persecuted as scapegoats for negative shocks. However, the incentive to persecute a minority group also depends on patterns of economic complementarity and substitutability between the majority group and the minority group. We use the Black Death as a natural experiment to evaluate the importance of scapegoating and interethnic complementarities as mechanisms shaping the incentives to persecute Jewish communities at a local level. At a macro-level, the scapegoating hypothesis was highly relevant. However, cities which experienced more severe plague outbreaks were less likely to persecute their Jewish community. In particular, when comparing towns with a similar mortality rate, Jewish communities were most likely to avoid persecution in: (i) Towns where Jews had been recently allowed to settle, possibly due to the economic benefits that they may bring, (ii) Towns that reached a critically low population level in the immediate aftermath of the Black Death, possibly due to these towns being concerned about their demographic and economic survival, and (iii) Cities that were connected to land-based trade networks, possibly due to Jews having a comparative advantage in occupations such as crafts and trade. Conversely, Jews were more likely to be persecuted in towns relying on sea-based trade or university towns that could potentially generate their own skilled workers.