As part of the Vilfredo Pareto Research Seminar series, the International Economics Department at the Graduate Institute is pleased to invite you to a public talk given by Cédric Chambru, Post-Doctoral Researcher in Economic History at the University of Zurich.
He will present his recent work titled The Dynamic Consequences of State-Building: Evidence from the French Revolution.
Abstract: How do radical reforms of the state shape economic development over time? In 1790, France’s first Constituent Assembly overhauled the organization of the kingdom to set up new administrative entities with new local capitals. As part of this reform, many cities lost their old status while others gained new functions. In a subset of departments, new administrative centers were chosen quasi-randomly as initial plans to establish rotating capitals were abandoned. We study how exogenous changes in local state capacity affect public goods provision and economic development in the ensuing decades. In the short run, proximity to the state increases taxation and military conscription. In the long run, the new administrative centers and their periphery experience faster industrial development and population growth. We provide a simple conceptual framework to show that costly start-up investments in the state’s coercive capacity are offset by long-term economic benefits. Our results shed new light on the intertemporal and redistributive impacts of state-building in the context of one of the most ambitious administrative reforms ever implemented.
About the speaker
Cédric Chambru is a post-doctoral Researcher in Economic History at the University of Zurich. His research spans political economy and economic history., focusing on social conflicts, institutions and development, living standards during the Industrial Revolution, and social mobility. Prior to joining the University of Zurich, he obtained his PhD at the University of Geneva in 2019. He has been visiting researcher at the University of Caen-Normandie, University of Mohammed VI Polytechnique, University of Montreal, University of Oxford, and Yeungnam University.