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Weather shocks, poverty and crime in 18th-century Savoy

Cédric Chambru

No unige:120722, Working Papers from University of Geneva, Paul Bairoch Institute of Economic History

Abstract: Did weather shocks increase interpersonal conflict in early modern Europe? I address this question by exploiting year-to-year seasonal variations in temperature and detailed crime data I assembled from Savoyard criminal procedures over the period 1749–89. I find that temperature shocks had a positive and significant effect on the level of property crimes, but no significant effect on violent crimes. I further document how seasonal migration may help to increase the coping capacity of local communities in which they were widely used. Migrant labourers brought remittances to supplement communities’ resources and also temporarily relieve their communities of the burden of feeding them. I show that temperature shocks were strongly associated with increase in the property crimes rate, but the effect is much lower in provinces with high levels of seasonal migration. I provide historical evidence to show that the inflow of remittances may drive this relationship.

Keywords: Weather shocks; Migration; Crime; Grain prices; Savoy; 18th Century (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J61 N33 N53 Q10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-env, nep-his, nep-mig and nep-ure
Date: 2019
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