Lessons from the Ottoman Harem on Culture, Religion, and Wars
The Ottoman Empire had a profound impact in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa at the apogee of its power, covering the era between 1453 CE and 1699 CE. In this paper, I exploit the empire’s unique culture and institutions to examine the roles of ethnicity and religion in conflict and war. Using comprehensive data on Ottoman wars and conflicts covering the reigns of 31 Ottoman sultans between 1400 CE and 1909 CE, I document that the ethnic background of Valide Sultan (the queen mother) was an important and independent determinant of whether the empire engaged in military conquests in Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East. Depending on the empirical specification, the reign of a sultan with a European maternal genealogy was enough to offset more than 70 percent of the empire’s western orientation in imperial conquests. While these findings do not rule out a direct role of queen mothers and Harem politics in Ottoman affairs, they are more in line with a longer-term channel of cultural transmission between the Valide Sultans and their sons.
Endogenous Race in Brazil: Affirmative Action and the Construction of Racial Identity among Young Adults
Andrew M. Francis and Maria Tannuri-Pianto
In this paper, we study the construction of racial identity among students at a university that recently adopted racial quotas in admissions. Using data we collected, we find that parents’ race, family socioeconomic status, gender, and racial quotas have a significant effect on self-reported race. The evidence indicates that students in mixed-race families are systematically more likely to identify with their mother’s race than with their father’s. Conditional on skin tone quintile, higher socioeconomic status is associated with lighter racial self-classification and lower socioeconomic status with darker racial self-classification. Additionally, the results demonstrate that being male is associated with lighter racial self-classification and being female with darker self-classification. Policy changes may also impact racial identity. Following the adoption of racial quotas, students in the darkest two quintiles were less likely to self-identify as branco, those in the fourth quintile were more likely to self-identify as pardo, and those in the darkest quintile were more likely to self-identify as preto.
The Health Consequences of the Mozambican Civil War: an Anthropometric Approach
Patrick Domingues and Thomas Barré (University of Paris)
Survivors of a war bear the burden of reconstruction; therefore, understanding the costs of civil conflicts to survivors’ health is crucial for the design of post-war economic policies. This paper investigates this issue by examining the Mozambican Civil War using an original geo-referenced event dataset. The results presented here show that fully grown women exposed to the conflict during the early years of their lives have poorer health, as reflected by a lower height-for-age z-score. Using the infancy-childhood-puberty curves, a concept used in the medical literature to study the human growth process, this study demonstrates that this negative effect depends on both age at the time of exposure to the civil war and the number of months spent in the conflict zone. Furthermore, this study finds that the number of months of prenatal civil war exposure has a negative impact on a woman’s health, thereby highlighting the importance of prenatal conditions for health outcomes.
The Long-Run Labor-Market Consequences of Civil War: Evidence from the Shining Path in Peru
This study exploits district-level variation in the timing and intensity of civil war violence to investigate whether early-life exposure to civil wars affects labor-market outcomes later in life. In particular, we examine the impacts of armed conflict in Peru, a country that experienced the actions of a tenacious, brutally effective war machine, the Shining Path, between 1980 and 1995. This study finds that the most sensitive period to early-life exposure to civil war violence is the first 36 months of life. A one standard deviation increase in civil war exposure leads to a 5 percent fall in adult monthly earnings, 3.5 percent reduction in the probability of working in formal jobs, and 5 percent reduction in the probability of working in large-size firms. Substantial heterogeneity in the earnings impacts emerge when considering variation in the type of civil war violence. Overall, forced disappearances emerge as the most hurtful measure of violence in the long run. Sexual violations disproportionally affected the wages of women, while torture and forced disappearances disproportionally affected the wages of men. Evidence on intervening pathways suggests that short-run health, along with schooling and household wealth, are important channels in connecting early-life exposure to civil war and adult earnings.
Can Warm Glow Alleviate Credit Market Failures? Evidence from Online Peer-to-Peer Lenders
Matthieu Chemin and Joost de Laat
This paper looks at an institutional innovation in which Western investors lend peer-to-peer to poor country enterprises. Using a unique dataset from an online lending platform called MyC4, we find that MyC4's Western lenders grant lower interest rates to pro-poor, socially responsible (SR), and pro-female African projects. Using a novel instrumental variable to account for interest rates’ endogeneity, we find that these lower interest rates substantially improve the repayment performance of borrowers, and do not reflect profit-maximizing behavior. This new way to organize finance improves credit market efficiency and the success rate of poor country enterprises.
Experimentally Validated Survey Evidence on Individual Risk Attitudes in Rural Thailand
Bernd Hardeweg, Lukas Menkhoff, and Hermann Waibel
This study validates a survey-based measure of general risk attitude by an incentive compatible experiment with more than 900 participants in rural Thailand. The survey measure of self-assessed risk attitude provides a useful approximation of the experimentally derived risk attitude. This is further confirmed by adding various socio-demographic control variables taken from the representative household survey that are related to risk attitude in plausible ways. The survey measure also predicts individual behavior toward risk in other cases and even outperforms the experimental measure in this respect.
Labor Market Integration in Urban Ethiopia, 1994–2004
Arne Bigsten, Taye Mengistae, and Abebe Shimeles
An analysis of panel data on individuals in a random selection of urban households in Ethiopia reveals large, sustained, and unexplained earnings gaps between public and private, and formal and informal sectors over the period from 1994–2004. At the same time, we find, first, that the rate of mobility increased in the two pairs of sectors. Sample transitions rates grew across survey waves, while state dependence in sector choice decreased. Second, the correlation between sector choice and earnings gaps increased over the same period. In particular, the correlation between comparative earnings and selection into the informal sector was high throughout the survey decade and increased in magnitude over the second half of the period. These results suggest that Ethiopia’s urban labor markets might be integrating.