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Readings
WAS PUTNAM WRONG? THE DETERMINANTS OF SOCIAL CAPITAL IN ITALY AROUND 1900

WAS PUTNAM WRONG? THE DETERMINANTS OF SOCIAL CAPITAL IN ITALY AROUND 1900

Gabriele Cappelli

Gabriele Cappelli (UAB) discusses his paper "Was Putnam wrong? The determinants of social capital in Italy around 1900" (Rivista di Storia Economica, a. XXXIII, n. 3, December 2017. Full article available here). 

This paper stems from the literature on the link between social capital and long-term regional economic growth in Italy. Rather than this relationship, though, I explore the determinants of the formation of social capital in the last quarter of the 19th century. (...) My work contributes to this literature in two fundamental ways. First, I estimate levels of social capital for some benchmark years between 1871 and 1911. By means of previously unexploited primary sources, these are estimated for all 69 Italian provinces existing at the time. Government surveys on the so-called Opere Pie (largely independent charity organisations), statistics on mutual aid societies, and data on violent crimes, are exploited to estimate two indices - the strength of cooperative norms and the level of mutual trust - representing the two most relevant dimensions of social capital, in line with the aforementioned OECD framework.

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The hand-loom weaver and the power loom: a Schumpeterian perspective

The hand-loom weaver and the power loom: a Schumpeterian perspective

Robert C. Allen

Schumpeter’s ‘perennial gale of creative destruction’ blew strongly through Britain during the Industrial Revolution, as the factory mode of production displaced the cottage mode in many industries. A famous example is the shift from hand loom weaving to the use of power looms in mills. As the use of power looms expanded, the price of cloth fell, and the ‘golden age of the hand loom weaver’ gave way to poverty and unemployment. This paper argues that the fates of the hand and machine processes were even more closely interwoven. 

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Causes and Consequences of the Protestant Reformation

Causes and Consequences of the Protestant Reformation

Sascha Becker, Steven Pfaff, Jared Rubin

The Protestant Reformation is one of the defining events of the last millennium. Nearly 500 years after the Reformation, its causes and consequences have seen a renewed interest in the social sciences. Research in economics, sociology, and political science increasingly uses detailed individual-level, city-level, and regional-level data to identify drivers of the adoption of the Reformation, its diffusion pattern, and its socioeconomic consequences. We take stock of this research, pointing out what we know and what we do not know and suggesting the most promising areas for future research.

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