Imperial Rule and Long-Run Development: Evidence on the Role of Human Capital in Ottoman Europe

Mircea Popa*, Bogdan Popescu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

This study examines the e ects of Ottoman imperial rule on long-run development in Europe. Using a novel geographical dataset that tracks territorial changes at the sub-national level over six hundred years, we identify a negative e ect of Ottoman rule on modern economic performance. Contemporary survey data provides strong support for a causal mechanism involving reduced human capital accumulation. This insight is con rmed by a regression discontinuity analysis using historical data from Romania. We uncover large causal e ects of Ottoman rule on literacy rates from the 19th century, which persisted throughout the 20th century. We argue that the late adoption of the printing press in the empire was an important determinant of low human capital accumulation, and illustrate this using data on the spread of the printing press.
Original languageEnglish
JournalComparative Political Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 28 Sep 2021

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