International Society for Quantitative History

QH Webinar Series

Strengthening State Capacity: Postal Reform and Innovation during the Gilded Age

10:00 | Thursday, September 29, 2022

Zoom Webinar

English

Guo Xu

Guo Xu

Assistant Professor, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley

US Post Office, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Guo Xu of Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley and his co-author use newly digitized records from the U.S. Post Office to study how strengthening state capacity affects public service delivery and innovation in over 2,700 cities between 1875–1905. Exploiting the gradual expansion of a major civil service reform, cities with a reformed postal office experience fewer errors in delivery, lower unit costs, and an increase in mail handled per worker. This improvement goes with greater information flow, as measured by increased volumes of mail and newspapers. They use personnel data to show that reformed offices see a decline in turnover and an increase in merit-based retention, consistent with a reduction in political interference.

In this Quantitative History Webinar, Guo Xu explains their observation of more joint patenting involving inventors and businesses from different cities and how a more effective postal service contributed to innovation and growth during the Gilded Age.

Discussant: Yiming Cao, Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Stanford Center on China's Economy and Institutions

Live on Zoom on September 29, 2022
10:00 Hong Kong/Beijing/Singapore
11:00 Tokyo | 12:00 Sydney
Previous Day 19:00 Los Angeles/Vancouver  | 22:00 New York

Guo Xu

Guo Xu

Assistant Professor, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Zoom Webinar

Guo Xu

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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