Historical Frontiers and the Rise of Inequality. The Case of the Frontier of Granada

Journal of the European Economic Association, Forthcoming

Posted: 9 Dec 2015

See all articles by Daniel Oto‐Peralías

Daniel Oto‐Peralías

Universidad Pablo de Olavide

Diego Romero‐Ávila

Universidad Pablo de Olavide

Date Written: 2016

Abstract

This paper explores the political economy that leads frontier regions to be unequal. By focusing on the presence of a stable frontier between Castile and the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada in the late Middle Ages, our analysis shows how a historical border may generate differences in inequality that can become extremely persistent. We argue that the dynamics of being a militarily insecure frontier region created the conditions on the Castilian side for a high concentration of economic and political power. Through the application of a border specification and a spatial regression discontinuity design to municipal-level data, we find that municipalities on the Castilian side have a significantly higher percentage of landless workers, a greater accumulation of wealth, and more jurisdictional rights among the privileged orders, as measured in the eighteenth century. We use current indicators of land inequality and development to show that the effect of the frontier of Granada persists even today.

Keywords: Historical Frontiers, Political Power, Inequality, Spanish Reconquest, Frontier of Granada, Spatial Regression Discontinuity Analysis

JEL Classification: C14, N2, N9, O1

Suggested Citation

Oto‐Peralias, Daniel and Romero‐Ávila, Diego, Historical Frontiers and the Rise of Inequality. The Case of the Frontier of Granada (2016). Journal of the European Economic Association, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2700416

Daniel Oto‐Peralias (Contact Author)

Universidad Pablo de Olavide

Seville

Diego Romero‐Ávila

Universidad Pablo de Olavide

No Address Available

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