International Society for Quantitative History

QH Webinar Series

History’s Masters: The Effect of European Monarchs on State Performance

11:00 | Thursday, November 11, 2021

Zoom Webinar

English

Nico Voigtländer

Nico Voigtländer

Professor of Economics, UCLA Anderson School of Management

Belgique - Bruxelles - Grand-Place - Maison du Roi d'Espagne, EmDee, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Nico Voigtländer of UCLA Anderson School of Management and his co-author create a novel reign-level dataset for European monarchs, covering all major European states between the 10th and 18th centuries. They first document a strong positive relationship between rulers’ intellectual ability and state-level outcomes. To address endogeneity issues, they exploit the facts that i) rulers were appointed according to primogeniture, independent of their ability, and ii) the wide-spread inbreeding among the ruling dynasties of Europe led over centuries to quasirandom variation in ruler ability. They code the degree of blood relationship between the parents of rulers. The ‘coefficient of inbreeding’ is a strong predictor of ruler ability, and the corresponding instrumental variable results imply that ruler ability had a sizeable effect on the performance of states and their borders. Their finding supports the view that ‘leaders made history,’ shaping the European map until its consolidation into nation states.

In this Quantitative History Webinar, Nico Voigtländer explains how their study shows that rulers mattered only where their power was largely unconstrained. In reigns where parliaments checked the power of monarchs, ruler ability no longer affected their state’s performance. Thus, the strengthening of parliaments in Northern European states (where kin marriage of dynasties was particularly wide-spread) may have shielded them from the detrimental effects of inbreeding.

Nico's co-author: Sebastian Ottinger (UCLA Anderson School of Management)

Discussant: Debin Ma, Professor of Economics, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University

Live on Zoom on November 11, 2021
11:00 Hong Kong/Beijing/Singapore
12:00 Tokyo | 14:00 Sydney
Previous Day 19:00 Los Angeles | 22:00 New York

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Zoom Webinar

Nico Voigtländer

English

The Quantitative History Webinar Series aims to provide researchers, teachers, and students with an online intellectual platform to keep up to date with the latest research in the field, promoting the dissemination of research findings and interdisciplinary use of quantitative methods in historical research. The Series, now in its third year, is co-organized by the International Society for Quantitative History, HKU Business School, and Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences. 量化歷史網上講座系列由香港大學陳志武和馬馳騁教授聯合發起,旨在介紹前沿量化歷史研究成果、促進同仁交流,推廣量化方法在歷史研究中的應用。本系列講座由國際量化歷史學會、香港大學經管學院和香港人文社會研究所全力支持和承辦。

Conveners: Professor Zhiwu Chen & Dr. Chicheng Ma (HKU Business School)

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