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Habemus Papam ?Polarization and Conflict in the Papal States

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  • Francisco Pino
  • Jordi Vidal-Robert

Abstract

We study the effect of divisions within the elite on the probability of internalconflict in the Papal States between 1295 and 1846. We assemble a new databaseusing information on cardinals that participated in conclaves during this period,and construct measures of polarization and fractionalization based on the cardinals’places of birth. The deaths of popes and cardinals provide plausible exogenousvariation in the timing of the conclave and the composition of the Collegeof Cardinals, which we exploit to analyze the causal effect of a divided conclaveon conflict. We find that an increase of one standard deviation in our measure ofpolarization raised the likelihood of internal conflict by between 2 and 3 percentin a given year and by up to 18 percent in a given papacy. The effect is largestin the initial years after the conclave, to gradually vanish over time. Our resultsconfirm that cardinals’ influence on the politics of the Papal States decreased afterreforms introduced between 1586 and 1588. Our measure of religious productivity,however, is negatively and significantly linked to polarization in the post-reformperiod. These reforms were successful in shifting the effect of divisions among theelite of one of the largest and oldest organizations from violent conflict to religiousmatters.

Suggested Citation

  • Francisco Pino & Jordi Vidal-Robert, 2014. "Habemus Papam ?Polarization and Conflict in the Papal States," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2014-27, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2013/160764
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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