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Autocratic Rule and Social Capital: Evidence from Imperial China

Международный центр изучения институтов и развития НИУ ВШЭ (МЦИИР) и Лаборатория исследования социальных отношений и многообразия общества РЭШ (ЛИСОМО РЭШ) провели очередной Семинар по разнообразию и развитию. 

Традиционно мероприятие проводится совместно с семинаром "Политическая экономика".

С докладом "Autocratic Rule and Social Capital: Evidence from Imperial China" выступла Мелани Мэн Сюэ,постдокторант Департамента экономики и Центра экономической истории в Северо-западном Университете.

Аннотация доклада: This paper explores the impact of autocratic rule on social capital –defined as the beliefs, attitudes, norms and perceptions that support cooperation. Political repression is a distinguishing characteristic of autocratic regimes. Between 1660-1788, individuals in imperial China were persecuted if they were suspected of holding subversive attitudes towards the state. A difference-in-differences approach suggests that in an average prefecture, exposure to those literary inquisitions led to a decline of 38% in local charities – a key proxy of social capital. Consistent with the historical panel results, we find that in affected prefectures, individuals have lower levels of generalized trust in modern China. Taking advantage of institutional variation in 20th c. China, and two instrumental variables, we provide further evidence that political repression permanently reduced social capital. Furthermore, we find that individuals in prefectures with a legacy of literary inquisitions are more politically apathetic. These results indicate a potential vicious cycle in which autocratic rule becomes self-reinforcing through causing a permanent decline in social capital.