Persistent Effects of Empires: Evidence from the Partitions of Poland

52 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2013

See all articles by Irena Grosfeld

Irena Grosfeld

Paris School of Economics

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2013

Abstract

We use spatial regression discontinuity analysis to test whether the historical partition of Poland among three empires— - Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Prussia— - has a persistent effect on political outcomes in contemporary Poland and to examine the channels of this influence. We find that the main difference in voting across Polish territories attributed by many observers to the legacy of empires is driven by omitted variables. However, empires do have a significant causal effect. The lands that belonged to Prussia (compared with those that belonged to Russia) vote more for anticommunist (post-Solidarity) parties. This difference is largely explained by the persistent effect of infrastructure built by Prussians at the time of industrialization. The former Austrian lands (compared with former Russian lands) votes more for religious conservatives and for liberals. The difference in the vote for religious conservatives is explained by persistent differences in church attendance driven by vastly different policies of the two empires toward the Catholic Church. Higher support for liberals on the Austrian side is partly explained by a persistent belief in democracy, which is a legacy of decentralized democratic governance of the Austrian empire.

Keywords: culture, empires, infrastructure, Partitions of Poland, persistence, Poland

JEL Classification: O10, P43, P48, P50, Z12

Suggested Citation

Grosfeld, Irena and Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, Persistent Effects of Empires: Evidence from the Partitions of Poland (March 2013). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP9371. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2228551

Irena Grosfeld (Contact Author)

Paris School of Economics ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014
France

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

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