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Economic Growth in the Malthusian Era: Evidence from the 1609 Spanish Expulsion of the Moriscos

13 maggio 2013
Ex Boccherini - Piazza S. Ponziano 6 (Conference Room )
We examine economic growth in the Malthusian era, exploiting detailed records and the 1609 expulsion of Moriscos from Spain. Population declined sharply in former Morisco districts and recovered by approximately half over 170 years, comparing former Morisco districts to nearby geographically-similar districts. Output declined initially and recovered faster than population, resulting in sustained increases in output per capita in former Morisco districts. We discuss potential interpretations for these re-sults and note that agricultural production may have adapted to relative labor scarcity in former Morisco districts. This historic episode provides a unique opportunity to examine economic dynamics in the Malthusian era.
Chaney, Eric - Harvard University - Cambridge