NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Leander Heldring

briq Institute
Schaumburg-Lippe-Strasse 5-9
Bonn 53113
Germany

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org

NBER Working Papers and Publications

August 2015The Long-Run Impact of the Dissolution of the English Monasteries
with James A. Robinson, Sebastian Vollmer: w21450
We examine the long-run economic impact of the Dissolution of the English monasteries in 1535, during the Reformation. Since monastic lands were previously not marketed and relatively unencumbered by inefficient types of customary tenures linked to feudalism, the Dissolution provides variation in the longevity of feudal institutions, which is plausibly linked to labor and social mobility, the productivity of agriculture and ultimately the location of the Industrial Revolution. We show that parishes impacted by the Dissolution subsequently had a greater share of the population working outside of agriculture, experienced higher innovation and yields in agriculture, a 'rise of the Gentry', and eventually higher levels of industrialization. Our results are consistent with explanations of the A...
November 2012Colonialism and Economic Development in Africa
with James A. Robinson: w18566
In this paper we evaluate the impact of colonialism on development in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the world context, colonialism had very heterogeneous effects, operating through many mechanisms, sometimes encouraging development sometimes retarding it. In the African case, however, this heterogeneity is muted, making an assessment of the average effect more interesting. We emphasize that to draw conclusions it is necessary not just to know what actually happened to development during the colonial period, but also to take a view on what might have happened without colonialism and also to take into account the legacy of colonialism. We argue that in the light of plausible counter-factuals, colonialism probably had a uniformly negative effect on development in Africa. To develop this claim we dis...
 
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