Political Economy Workshop (Gov 3007)


Monday, April 10, 2017, 12:00pm to 2:00pm


CGIS Knafel K354


Co-taught by Professors Kenneth Shepsle and Jeffry Frieden, the Research Workshop in Political Economy (Government 3007) is a year-long graduate seminar that aims to encourage cross-disciplinary research and excellence in graduate training. Political economy is a research tradition that explores how institutions affect political and economic outcomes. The workshop emphasizes the development of dissertation proposals and is a place where graduate students can present their research to an audience of committed and informed peers. It is open to graduate students in the Departments of Government and Economics, and the Program in Political Economy and Government. The workshop holds both internal and public seminars and meetings. At the internal meetings, approximately twelve per semester, graduate students and faculty present their own work to one another. At the public meetings, up to two per semester, leading scholars are invited to Harvard to present their work. Although the workshop is by invitation only, affiliates of the Weatherhead Center are encouraged to attend the public meetings.



Aseem Mahajan will present his paper "Does diversity undermine adaptation to weather shocks?". Daniel Velez Lopez will be the discussant.

Then, Shom Mazumder will present his paper "The Economic Origins and Legacies of Racialized Authoritarianism: Evidence from a Historical Natural Experiment in the U.S. South". Dustin Tingley will be the discussant.



Abstract for "Does diversity undermine adaptation to weather shocks?"

Over the last century, climate change has increased the intensity, duration, and frequency of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, and heat waves. Because some damages from greenhouse gas emissions are irreversible, communities must adapt to inevitable warming. In this article, I argue that adaptation can be characterized as a local public good. A large body of work in political science suggests that collective action and the provision of public goods decrease in ethnic heterogeneity, leading to the possibility that ethnically heterogeneous communities are less resilient to weather shocks and adapt to them more slowly. I propose a research design to test this hypothesis using historical fluctuations in temperature and weather, crop yields, and casualties/damages from floods and heat waves in conjunction with a natural experiment that exploits the random geographic assignment of refugees and migrants across communities.


Abstract for "The Economic Origins and Legacies of Racialized Authoritarianism: Evidence from a Historical Natural Experiment in the U.S. South" (with James Feigenbaum)

How do economic structures shape political behavior in highly racialized contexts? To explore this question, we turn to the historical setting of the U.S. South. Since the founding of the United States, cotton has motivated the politics of the U.S. South in various forms including the development of slavery, economic policies, and intergroup relations between Whites and Blacks. To investigate this relationship, we use the natural experiment generated by the Boll Weevil infestation during 1892-1922 to identify the causal effect of cotton production on the nature and persistence of authoritarian politics in the U.S. South. Using the intensity of exposure to the Boll Weevil to instrument for the level of cotton production, we find that areas with high levels of cotton production experienced more lynching and greater support for the one-party state in the short to medium-run. Over the longrun, these areas had a higher probability of experiencing Civil Rights protests and higher voting rates for the racially liberal party. To help interpret these findings, we provide a theory of dynamic persistence where social movements play a key role. Our framework and results help broaden our understanding of the relationship among economic structures, intergroup relations, and historical persistence.