Social housing and the spread of population: Evidence from twentieth century Ireland

Abstract: How does housing policy influence the long-run distribution of population? We examine the impact on long-term population dynamics of the world’s first large-scale rural public housing scheme, specifically the case of Ireland’s Labourers Acts. We link detailed data on the location of over 45,000 heavily subsidized cottages for agricultural laborers built 1883–1915 in over 200 […]

The Growth Contribution of Colonial Indian Railways in Comparative Perspective

Abstract: Railways were an important driver of global economic growth in the 19th and early 20th centuries. While their role is well documented in industrial economies, we know less about their macro-economic impact in developing countries. In this paper, we first estimate the aggregate growth impact of Indian railways, one of the largest networks in […]

Managed decline? Muddling through with the Sterling (dis)agreements, 1968-74

Abstract: How do policy makers manage the decline of an international currency? This paper examines British policy towards the pound sterling’s international role in the years 1968-74. Using previously uncited government archival sources, we revisit the view that the ‘sterling agreements’ of 1968-74, bilateral contracts made between the UK and governments holding sterling, formed a […]


Abstract: This paper examines the long-term economic impacts of the adoption of local knowledge during European colonisation. We use the case of Australia, where Aboriginal knowledge of the landscape was integral to colonial exploration and settlement. To quantify the effects of this knowledge, we construct a newly digitised and georeferenced dataset of trade routes created […]

Trade diversion and labor market adjustment: Vietnam and the U.S.-China trade war

Abstract: This paper investigates the effects of the U.S.-China trade war on labor market outcomes in a third country, Vietnam. We exploit variation in the extent of U.S. tariff hikes on Chinese imports across industries as well as pre-existing industry employment patterns in Vietnam. We find that Vietnamese individuals and districts that are more exposed […]

The Good Friday Agreement at 25: has there been a peace dividend?

Abstract: The Good Friday Agreement ended a three decades-long conflict in Northern Ireland. Peace has brought some economic improvements, including lower unemployment, higher wages for low earners and the arrival of new industries. But progress in other areas – particularly productivity – has been limited. Cite as: Graham Brownlow, David Jordan and John Turner, ‘The […]

The Nationalist Dilemma: A Global History of Economic Nationalism, 1776–Present

Summary: Nationalists think about the economy, Marvin Suesse argues, and this thinking matters once nationalists hold political power. Many nationalists seek to limit global exchange, but others prioritise economic development. The potential conflict between these two goals shapes nationalist policy making. Drawing on historical case studies from thirty countries – from the American Revolution to […]

Economic Penalties based on Neighborhood, and Wealth Building

Abstract: Building wealth over lifetimes became possible for a broader span of the population in developed countries over the 20th century compared to any time in history. This was driven by more people having the capacity to save because of the expansion of middle-class jobs and education, access to highly developed financial markets, and government […]

Agglomeration and emigration: The economic impact of railways in post-Famine Ireland

Abstract: Ireland developed one of the world’s most intensive railroad networks in the second half of the 19th century. However, the emergence of railroads occurred in tandem with a failure to industrialize and mass depopulation suggesting limited, if any, impact on the island’s economy. This paper examines this claim from a trade-based market-access perspective. Matching […]

Business Establishment Opposition to Southern Ireland’s Exit from the United Kingdom

Abstract: After more than a century of political and economic integration, Southern Ireland exited the United Kingdom in 1922. By identifying the leading business firms of the era and the political and religious allegiances of their owners, this paper explores the perspective of the Southern Irish business establishment on the issues involved. While the mass […]

Business Creation and Political Turmoil: Ireland versus Scotland before 1900

Abstract: What effect does political instability in the form of a potential secession from a political union have on business formation? Using newly collected data on business creation, we show that entrepreneurial activity in Ireland in the late nineteenth century was much lower than Scotland, and this divergence fluctuated over time. Several factors may have […]

The deep roots of rebellion

Abstract: This paper analyzes the triggers of rebellion and documents the historical roots of conflict using a unique dataset at the individual level. Drawing on evidence from the Famine (1845–1850) and its effect on the Irish Revolution (1916–1921), we show how negative shocks can explain social unrest in the long run. These findings are confirmed […]

High-speed broadband availability, Internet activity among older people, quality of life and loneliness

Abstract: Using data from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), linked to administrative data on high-speed broadband availability from infrastructure maps, this study examines patterns of Internet uses and psychosocial outcomes for over 3500 people aged 50 plus across Ireland. High-speed broadband availability is associated with higher reported levels of home Internet access, greater […]

Racial Diversity and Racial Policy Preferences: The Great Migration and Civil Rights

Abstract: Between 1940 and 1970, more than 4 million African Americans moved from the South to the North of the US, during the Second Great Migration. This same period witnessed the struggle and eventual success of the civil rights movement in ending institutionalized racial discrimination. This article shows that the Great Migration and support for […]

From Immigrants to Americans: Race and Assimilation during the Great Migration

Abstract: How does the arrival of a new minority group affect the social acceptance and outcomes of existing minorities? We study this question in the context of the First Great Migration. Between 1915 and 1930, 1.5 million African Americans moved from the U.S. South to Northern urban centres, which were home to millions of European […]

Boomtowns: Local Shocks and Inequality in 1920s California

Abstract: The 1920s in the United States were a time of high income and wealth growth and rising inequality, up to the peak in 1929. It was an era of technological innovations such as electrification as well as booms in consumer durables, housing, and asset markets. The degree to which these skill-biased opportunities shaped property […]

A Rising Tide? The Local Incidence of the Second Wave of Globalization

Abstract: We estimate the short- and long-run local labor market impacts of the large increase in U.S. imports and exports that occurred over the 1970s. We exploit the sequential opening of overseas shipping container ports over the period, which generated discontinuous changes in U.S. trade ows. We find that the impacts of the export shock […]

The growth and diversity of the Cape private capital market, 1892–1902

Abstract: The adoption of limited liability in the nineteenth century is considered to have boosted economic growth and expanded capital markets in Europe and North America. Despite similar legal changes in frontier markets such as South Africa, very few attempts have been made to analyse the economic effects thereof. After the Cape Joint Stock Company […]

Antitrust Policies and Profitability in Nontradable Sectors

Abstract: Firms in tradable sectors are more likely to be subject to external competition to limit market power, while nontradable firms are more dependent on domestic policies and institutions. This paper combines an antitrust index available for multiple countries with firm-level data from Orbis covering more than 12 million firms from 94 countries, including 20 […]

The Economic Origins of Conflict in Africa

Abstract: We study the impact of plausibly exogenous global food price shocks on local violence across the African continent. In food-producing areas, higher food prices reduce conflict over the control of territory (what we call “factor conflict”) and increase conflict over the appropriation of surplus (“output conflict”). We argue that this difference arises because higher […]