Pre-Colonial Warfare and Long-Run Development in India

72 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2020 Last revised: 24 Dec 2020

See all articles by Mark Dincecco

Mark Dincecco

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

James Fenske

University of Warwick

Anil Menon

University of Michigan

Shivaji Mukherjee

Department of Political Science, University of Toronto; Yale University

Date Written: December 22, 2020

Abstract

We analyze the relationship between pre-colonial warfare and long-run development patterns in India. We construct a new geocoded database of historical interstate conflicts on the Indian subcontinent, from which we compute measures of local exposure to pre-colonial warfare. We document a positive and significant relationship between pre-colonial conflict exposure and local economic development across India today. This result is robust to numerous checks, including controls for geographic endowments, initial state capacity, colonial-era institutions, ethnic and religious fractionalization, and colonial and post-colonial conflict, and an instrumental variables analysis that exploits variation in pre-colonial conflict exposure driven by cost distance to the Khyber Pass. Drawing on archival and secondary data, we show that districts that were more exposed to pre-colonial conflict experienced greater local pre-colonial and colonial-era state-making, and less political violence and higher infrastructure investments in the long term.

Keywords: Warfare, Economic Development, State Capacity, Public Goods, India, History

JEL Classification: N45, O11, P48, H11

Suggested Citation

Dincecco, Mark and Fenske, James and Menon, Anil and Mukherjee, Shivaji, Pre-Colonial Warfare and Long-Run Development in India (December 22, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3616441 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3616441

Mark Dincecco (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/umich.edu/dincecco

James Fenske

University of Warwick ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Anil Menon

University of Michigan ( email )

Shivaji Mukherjee

Department of Political Science, University of Toronto ( email )

100 St. George St
Sidney Smith Hall
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G8
Canada

Yale University ( email )

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