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Negative Shocks and Mass Persecutions: Evidence from the Black Death

Author

Listed:
  • Remi Jedwab

    (George Washington University)

  • Mark Koyama

    (George Mason University)

  • Noel Johnson

    (George Mason University)

Abstract

In this paper we study the Black Death persecutions (1347-1352) against Jews in order to shed light on the factors determining when a minority group will face persecution. We develop a theoretical framework which predicts that negative shocks increase the likelihood that minorities are scapegoated and persecuted. By contrast, as the shocks become more severe, persecution probability may actually decrease if there are eco- nomic complementarities between the majority and minority groups. We compile city- level data on Black Death mortality and Jewish persecution. At an aggregate level we find that scapegoating led to an increase in the baseline probability of a persecution. However, at the city-level, locations which experienced higher plague mortality rates were less likely to engage in persecutions. Furthermore, persecutions were more likely in cities with a history of antisemitism (consistent with scapegoating) and less likely in cities where Jews played an important economic role (consistent with inter-group complementarities).

Suggested Citation

  • Remi Jedwab & Mark Koyama & Noel Johnson, "undated". "Negative Shocks and Mass Persecutions: Evidence from the Black Death," Working Papers 2017-4, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:gwi:wpaper:2017-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Grosfeld, Irena & Sakalli, Seyhun Orcan & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2017. "Middleman Minorities and Ethnic Violence: Anti-Jewish Pogroms in the Russian Empire," CEPR Discussion Papers 12154, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ethnic Conflict; Religious Conflict; Minorities; Persecutions; Massacres; Libels; Black Death; Jewish Economic History; Middle Ages; Epidemics; Cities; Trade;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • 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
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics

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