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LSE - Stanford - Universidad de los Andes

Long-Run Development in Latin America

2nd annual conference, 16-17 May 2018

IMG_1221 Panel Discussion Klein point 747x420The Latin America and Caribbean Centre (LACC) hosted the second annual LSE-Stanford-Universidad de los Andes conference on long-run development on 16-17 May 2018, with support from the LSE Annual Fund, International Growth Centre (IGC) and STICERD.

Following our inaugural conference in Stanford in May 2017, this multi-disciplinary event came to the LSE to probe the institutional, political, and economic drivers of long-run development.  The majority of papers focused on Latin America, but with important comparative research from Africa and Asia.

Conference Organizers: Jean-Paul Faguet (LSE), Alberto Díaz-Cayeros (Stanford) and María del Pilar López-Uribe (LSE & Los Andes)

Recent years have seen a powerful resurgence in the political economy literature on development. Ideas about the role of institutions vs. factor endowments vs. human capital in driving economic growth and inequality have been advanced forcefully, and have been tested in a variety of contexts. The boldness of some of the assumptions and constructs (e.g. ‘colonial mortality’, ‘inclusive vs. extractive institutions’, AJR 2001, etc.; ‘institutional contagion’, ES 1997) have been challenged both on the ground of whether the empirical findings have the necessary nuance, and whether they are able to distinguish between key dimensions of the package of ‘institutions’ studied. The literature remains rich and provocative. The institutional intuition remains the main driver of various explanations, but “institutions” are often too high a level of aggregation for empirical tests to be fully convincing versus alterative theses.

Cross-country studies with creative identification strategies, and working with more disaggregated dependent and independent variables, are shedding new light on these debates. In our view, some of the methodologically most robust approaches involve subnational analysis exploiting subnational variation. Latin America offers an ideal context in which to develop such research, with huge variation across space and time in economic and human development outcomes, and also subnational institutions, human capital, public investment, factors and resources, and other political and geographic variables. In contrast to other developing regions, Latin America offers comparatively high-quality data, often available across very long periods of time.

New research by young scholars has taken up the challenge with preliminary results that are impressive and have a clear potential to remake the political economy of development. Examples of such work include Dell (2008), Díaz-Cayeros and Jha (2012), Guardado (2016), Alix and Sellars (2016), Faguet, Sánchez and Villaveces (2016), Galán (2011), Naritomi et al. (2012), and Stasavage (2014) among others. Such studies typically use panel data from hundreds of observations across decades or centuries. When these units are subnational, the researcher can control much better for historical, macro-institutional, geographic, cultural, and other factors that bedevil identification in cross-country studies. The empirical quality and specificity of such an approach facilitates an analytical focus on complex, nuanced explanatory factors that are hard to treat in a cross-country context. Just as excitingly, efforts are currently underway to extract data from the early republican and colonial archives in several Latin American countries, and so develop much longer-term subnational databases over not decades but centuries.

The time is ripe to bring together research that serves simultaneously as major substantive findings, and also proof-of-concept for new empirical approaches. The LSE-Stanford-Uniandes conference seeks to explore more directly how long-run development patterns are driven by state capacity, land rights, and race/ethnicity and civic and political rights. We believe that political economy of Latin America work is on the verge of a major breakthrough in new approaches that will generate collaboration between historians, political scientists, economists and other social science scholars that will produce a new understanding of some of the most complex social issues of our time.

See below for programme details. All papers discussed during the conference can be found here on the LSE Latin America and Caribbean Centre webpage.

Day 1 Programme

Wednesday 16 May 2018

8:30-8:50   Morning refreshments 
8:50-9:00   Welcome and opening words

9:00-10:30  Session 1: Skills

Discussant: Robert Wade (LSE)

Chair: Jean-Paul Faguet (LSE)

  • Agustina Paglayan (Stanford): “Democracy and Educational Expansion: Evidence from 200 Years."

  • Jeremiah Dittmar (LSE): “Public goods institutions, human capital, and growth: Evidence from German history”

  • Felipe Valencia (British Columbia): “Engineering growth: Innovative capacity and development in the Americas”

10:30-10:45  Break

10:45-12:15  Session 2: The Public Economy
Discussant: David Soskice (LSE)
Chair: Alberto Díaz-Cayeros (Stanford)

  • Pablo Querubín (NYU): “The political class and redistributive policies”

  • Luis Martínez (University of Chicago): “How much should we trust the dictator’s GDP estimates?”

  • Debin Ma (LSE): “The paradox of power: Principal-agent problems and fiscal capacity in absolutist regimes”

12:15-13:15  Lunch

13:15-14:45  Session 3: Ethnic Identity

Discussant: Elliott Green (LSE)

Chair: Alejandra Irigoin (LSE)

  • Alberto Diaz-Cayeros (Stanford): “Indigenous identity and colonial rule”

  • Lachlan McNamee (Stanford): “Colonialism, path dependency, and comparative racial identification in the Americas”

  • Luis Carlos Reyes (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana): “The cries of the harvesters: A natural experiment on the multigenerational effects of slavery”

14:45-16:15  Session 4: Corruption
Discussant: Jonathan Weigel (Harvard)
Chair: Austin Zeiderman (LSE)

  • Felipe González (Universidad Catolica de Chile): “Take the money and run? The consequences of controversial privatizations”

  • Jenny Guardado (Georgetown University): “Corruption and the value of public office: Evidence from the Spanish empire”

  • Michael Muthukrishna (LSE): “Corruption, cooperation, and the evolution of prosocial institutions”

16:15-16:25  Break 

16:25-17:55  Session 5: Conflict 1

Discussant: Joan Roses (LSE)

Chair: Colin Lewis (LSE)

  • Omar García-Ponce (UC DAVIS): “Long term effects of colonial repression on political attitudes in Madagascar”

  • Ana María Ibañez (Universidad de los Andes): “The legacies of war: How does conflict shape migration responses to negative weather shocks?”

  • Borge Wietzke (IBEI): “The long-term consequences of pre-colonial military coercion under the Merina state”

17:55-18:00  Closing words

18:00-19:30  Reception 

Day 2 Programme

Thursday 17 May 2018 

8:30-9:00  Morning refreshments 

9:00-10:30  Session 6: Conflict 2

Discussant: Adam Przeworski (NYU)

Chair: Kathy Hochstetler (LSE)

  • Emilio Depetris-Chauvin (Universidad Católica de Chile): “State history and contemporary conflict: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa”

  • Emily Sellars (Texas A&M University): “When state building backfires: Elite divisions and collective action in rebellion”

  • Luz Marina Árias (CIDE): “How do rulers rule? Coordination, coercion and political order after independence”

10:30-10:45  Break

10:45-12:15  Session 7: Inequality & Social Order

Discussant: Carles Boix (Princeton)

Chair: Maria López-Uribe (LSE)

  • Edgar Franco (Stanford): “Justice and social order: Indigenous claims in the courts of colonial Mexico”

  • Javier Mejía (Universidad de los Andes- NYUAD): “Social interactions and modern economic growth in Colombia”

  • Leandro Prados de la Escosura (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid): “Well-being inequality: A world view since 1870”

12:15-13:15  Lunch

13.15-15:00  Session 8: Land Institutions

Discussant: Jean-Paul Faguet (LSE)

Chair: Ana María Ibáñez (UniAndes)

  • Lisa Blaydes (Stanford): “Land, property rights and institutional durability in medieval Egypt”

  • Herbert Klein (Stanford): “The modernization of Brazilian agriculture since 1960”

  • Mateo Uribe-Castro (University of Maryland): “Expropriation of Church wealth and political conflict in 19th century Colombia”

  • Fabio Sánchez (Universidad de los Andes): “On the agrarian origins of civil conflict in Colombia”

15:00-15:15 Break

15:15-17:15  Panel Discussion

Chairs: Jean-Paul Faguet (LSE) and Alberto Díaz-Cayeros (Stanford)

  • Adam Przeworski (NYU)

  • Carles Boix (Princeton)

  • David Soskice (LSE)

  • Robert Wade (LSE)

  • Herbert Klein (Stanford)

  • Leandro Prados de la Escosura (UC3M)

17:15-17:45  Invitation to Bogotá 2019 and closing words

  • Alberto Díaz-Cayeros (Stanford)

  • Jean-Paul Faguet (LSE)

  • Maria López Uribe (LSE)

  • Fabio Sánchez (Universidad de los Andes)

17:45-18:30  Break

18:30  Public Lecture (Old Theatre, Old Building)

The first great divergence – How culture transformed our species

Robert Boyd (Arizona State University)

Chair: Jean-Paul Faguet (LSE)

Registration required.  More information available at http://www.lseboyd.eventbrite.co.uk/  

This programme may be subject to minor changes. We aim to make all papers publicly available after the conference on the LSE Latin America and Caribbean Centre webpage.