11 montesquieu says esprit des lois book xx chap 7 of

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Unformatted text preview: quieu says (Esprit des Lois, Book XX, chap. 7) of the English that they “had progressed the farthest of all peoples of the world in three important things: in piety, in commerce, and in freedom”. Is it not possible that their commercial superiority and their adaptation to free political institutions are connected in some way with that record of piety which Montesquieu ascribes to them?” He argued that an omitted variable, religion, explained both economic success and political freedom, suggesting that one could not give a causal interpretation to the fact that Britain had both political freedom and was economic successful. James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and Historical Analysis September 9, 2009 9 / 24 Need For Exogenous Variation To solve this identi…cation problem we need exogenous sources of variation. One attractive strategy is to exploit “natural experiments” of history, where some societies that are otherwise similar were a¤ected by historical processes leading to institutional divergence. An experiment, or a natural experiment, is the cleanest sort of exogenous variation. My favorite example: James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and9, 2009 September Historical Analysis 10 / 24 John Snow and the Broad Street Pump Snow was an English doctor who was one of the founders of epidemiology. He was investigating the cause of cholera in the 1850s. Existing theories said it was due to miasmas (‘ bad airs’ but Snow thought is ) was due to bacteria in water. How to prove this? He mapped all of the fatalities from an outbreak of cholera in Soho, London, 1854. Discovered that the source must be taking water from the pump in Broad Street. But people close to the pump also breathed the same air! People working in the Brewery (who drank beer) and people in the workhouse (which had its own well) were close but did not get cholera. James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and9, 2009 September Historical Analysis 11 / 24 The Work House Brewery Broad Street Pump John Snow’s original map showing deaths from cholera in Broad Street and the neighborhood, from 19th August to 30th September 1...
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This document was uploaded on 02/28/2014 for the course ECON 2328 at Harvard.

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