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Negative Shocks and Mass Persecutions: Evidence from the Black Death

Remi Jebwab, Noel D Johnson and Mark Koyama ()

MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: In this paper we study the Black Death persecutions (1347-1352) against Jews in order to shed light on the factors determining when a minority group will face persecution. We develop a theoretical framework which predicts that negative shocks increase the likelihood that minorities are scapegoated and persecuted. By contrast, as the shocks become more severe, persecution probability may actually decrease if there are economic complementarities between the majority and minority groups. We compile city- level data on Black Death mortality and Jewish persecution. At an aggregate level we find that scapegoating led to an increase in the baseline probability of a persecution. However, at the city-level, locations which experienced higher plague mortality rates were less likely to engage in persecutions. Furthermore, persecutions were more likely in cities with a history of antisemitism (consistent with scapegoating) and less likely in cities where Jews played an important economic role (consistent with inter-group complementarities).

Keywords: Ethnic Conflict; Religious Conflict; Minorities; Persecutions; Massacres; Libels; Black Death; Jewish Economic History; Middle Ages; Epidemics; Cities; Trade (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D74 J15 N33 N4 N43 O1 R1 Z12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his
Date: 2017-03
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https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/77720/1/MPRA_paper_77720.pdf original version (application/pdf)
https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/78630/1/MPRA_paper_78630.pdf revised version (application/pdf)

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