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Negative Shocks and Mass Persecutions: Evidence from the Black Death

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  • Jebwab, Remi
  • Johnson, Noel D
  • Koyama, Mark

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 economic 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

  • Jebwab, Remi & Johnson, Noel D & Koyama, Mark, 2017. "Negative Shocks and Mass Persecutions: Evidence from the Black Death," MPRA Paper 77720, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:77720
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    1. Blame it on the Jews? Economic Incentives and Persecutions during the Black Death
      by missiaia in NEP-HIS blog on 2017-04-25 20:16:21

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    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation
    • 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
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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