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Pre-Colonial Warfare and Long-Run Development in India

Mark Dincecco (), James Fenske, Anil Menon and Shivaji Mukherjee
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James Fenske: University of Warwick
Anil Menon: University of Michigan
Shivaji Mukherjee: University of Toronto

The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) from University of Warwick, Department of Economics

Abstract: We analyze the relationship between pre-colonial warfare and long-run development patterns in India. We construct a new geocoded database of historical interstate conflicts on the Indian subcontinent, from which we compute measures of local exposure to pre-colonial warfare. We document a positive and significant relationship between pre-colonial conflict exposure and local economic development across India today. This result is robust to numerous checks, including controls for geographic endowments, initial state capacity, colonial-era institutions, ethnic and religious fractionalization, and colonial and post-colonial conflict, and an instrumental variables strategy that exploits variation in pre-colonial conflict exposure driven by cost distance to the Khyber Pass. Drawing on rich archival and secondary data, we show that districts that were more exposed to pre-colonial conflict experienced greater local pre-colonial and colonial-era state-making, and less political violence and higher infrastructre investments in the long term. We argue that reductions in local levels of violence and greater investments in physical capital were at least in part a function of more powerful local government institutions.

Keywords: Warfare; Economic Development; State Capacity; Public Goods; India; History JEL codes: N45; O11; P48; H11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dev, nep-gro and nep-his
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Working Paper: Pre-Colonial Warfare and Long-Run Development in India (2019) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:wrk:warwec:1272

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