Habemus Papam? Polarization and Conflict in the Papal States

80 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2020

See all articles by Francisco Pino

Francisco Pino

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES)

Jordi Vidal-Robert

The University of Sydney

Abstract

We study the effect of divisions within the elite on the probability of internal conflict in the Papal States between 1295 and 1846. We assemble a new database using information on cardinals that participated in conclaves during this period, and construct measures of polarization and fractionalization based on the cardinals' birthplaces. The deaths of popes and cardinals provide plausible exogenous variation in the timing of the conclave and the composition of the College of Cardinals at the time of the election.We exploit this variation to analyze the causal effect of a divided conclave on conflict. We find that an increase of one standard deviation in our measure of polarization raised the likelihood of internal conflict by between 3 and 4 percentage points in a given year and by up to 19 percentage points in a given papacy. Consistent with the interpretation of an irresolute leader learning throughout his papacy, the effect is largest in the initial years after the conclave, to gradually vanish over time.

Keywords: conflict, polarization, papal states, conclave

JEL Classification: D72, D74, N33, N43, Z12

Suggested Citation

Pino, Francisco and Vidal-Robert, Jordi, Habemus Papam? Polarization and Conflict in the Papal States. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12911. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3525239

Francisco Pino (Contact Author)

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) ( email )

Ave. Franklin D Roosevelt, 50 - C.P. 114
Brussels, B-1050
Belgium

Jordi Vidal-Robert

The University of Sydney

University of Sydney
Sydney, NC NSW 2006
Australia

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