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Long-run effects of the Spanish Inquisition

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  • Vidal-Robert, Jordi

    (University of Warwick and CAGE)

Abstract

Using a newly collected dataset on inquisitorial activity for seven regions, fourteen provinces and 947 municipalities, I analyze the long-term economic consequences of the Spanish Inquisition (1478-1834). I show that inquisitorial activity is negatively associated to regional and provincial economic growth (an increase of a thousand inquisitorial trials is associated with 3% to 5% lower urbanization rates). At the municipal level, I find that municipalities affected by the Inquisition experienced an annual population growth rate 0.11% lower than their counterparts. This result is robust when controlling for alternative explanatory factors, such as pre-existent religiosity and proxies for trade activity. I explore three channels through which the Inquisition may have had an impact on economic outcomes. While inquisitorial activity is not linked to levels of trust or social polarization, I find it is negatively associated with the adoption of new technologies and the creation of municipal centres of cultural transmission.

Suggested Citation

  • Vidal-Robert, Jordi, 2014. "Long-run effects of the Spanish Inquisition," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 192, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:192
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    File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/centres/cage/manage/publications/192-2014_vidal-robert.pdf
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    Keywords

    Spanish Inquisition; polarization;

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