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Cultural vs. economic legacies of empires: Evidence from the partition of Poland

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  • Grosfeld, Irena
  • Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina

Abstract

Poland was divided among three empires—Russia, Austria–Hungary, and Prussia—for over a century until 1918. The partition brought about divergence in culture, institutions, and economic development. We use spatial regression discontinuity to examine, which empire effects are persistent. We find that differences in incomes, industrial production, education, corruption, and trust in government institutions disappeared with time as they were smoothed by economic forces and policy intervention. In contrast, differences in intensity of religious practices and in beliefs in democratic ideals, i.e., democratic capital, persist presumably via inter-generational within-family transmission. Differences in railroad infrastructure built by empires during industrialization persisted to this day. Cultural empire legacies have an effect on the political outcomes in contemporary Poland.

Suggested Citation

  • Grosfeld, Irena & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2015. "Cultural vs. economic legacies of empires: Evidence from the partition of Poland," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 55-75.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:43:y:2015:i:1:p:55-75
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2014.11.004
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Persistence; Partitions; Poland; Empires; Religiosity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-
    • P10 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - General
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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