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Weather shocks, poverty and crime in 18th-century Savoy


Chambru, Cédric (2020). Weather shocks, poverty and crime in 18th-century Savoy. Explorations in Economic History, 78:101353.

Abstract

Did weather shocks increase interpersonal conflict in early modern Europe? I address this question by exploiting year-to-year seasonal variations in temperature and detailed crime data assembled from Savoyard criminal procedures over the period 1749–92. I find that temperature shocks had a positive and significant effect on the level of property crimes, but a negative and significant effect on violent crimes. I further document how seasonal migration helped to increase the coping capacity of local communities. Indeed, migrant labour both brought in remittances that supplemented communities’ resources, as well as temporarily relieved impoverished households of the burden of feeding these workers. I show that while temperature shocks were strongly associated with an increase in property crime rates, the effect was much lower in provinces with high levels of seasonal migration. I provide historical evidence demonstrating that the inflow of remittances may have driven this relationship.

Abstract

Did weather shocks increase interpersonal conflict in early modern Europe? I address this question by exploiting year-to-year seasonal variations in temperature and detailed crime data assembled from Savoyard criminal procedures over the period 1749–92. I find that temperature shocks had a positive and significant effect on the level of property crimes, but a negative and significant effect on violent crimes. I further document how seasonal migration helped to increase the coping capacity of local communities. Indeed, migrant labour both brought in remittances that supplemented communities’ resources, as well as temporarily relieved impoverished households of the burden of feeding these workers. I show that while temperature shocks were strongly associated with an increase in property crime rates, the effect was much lower in provinces with high levels of seasonal migration. I provide historical evidence demonstrating that the inflow of remittances may have driven this relationship.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > History
Social Sciences & Humanities > Economics and Econometrics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Weather shocks, migration, crime, grain prices, Savoy, 18th century
Language:English
Date:1 October 2020
Deposited On:15 Sep 2020 15:05
Last Modified:03 May 2021 15:27
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0014-4983
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eeh.2020.101353

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