Sunday, May 22, 2011

Local Hatred as a Long-Term Phenomenon

Voigtländer and Voth apply spatial econometrics to the question of historical anti-Semitism in Europe and find evidence that hatred is a long-term local phenomenon, as they explain in this VoxEU.org post:
Our findings thus reinforce recent research in economics that documents just how persistent culture is. Raquel Fernandez and Alessandra Fogli (2009) show that the fertility of the children of immigrants to America is still influenced by what is happening in their parents’ home countries; Nathan Nunn and Leonard Wantchekon (2009) argue that areas in Africa affected by the slave trade in the 19th century still show lower levels of trust; and Saumitra Jha (2008) found that Indian cities with a history of peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Hindus have had lower levels of inter-ethnic violence in the recent past. In this context, our findings are striking because they concern anti-Semitism, a trait without any direct economic benefit (and probably some harmful economic consequences over the long run), and because we document persistence over a much longer time horizon than other studies.

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