Working_papers

State-Building in Multi-Ethnic Societies: Origins of National Identity in Tanzania

*New draft coming soon* Ethnic heterogeneity poses a fundamental challenge to state-building. We study the long-term effects of one of the largest state-building exercises in post-colonial Africa, the Tanzanian Ujamaa policy. The policy's core aim included creating a national identity and establishing the state's legitimacy in a highly ethnically diverse population. The policy mandated the population to live in planned villages, where children of schooling age were exposed to public education that served the government's goal. We combine differences in the exposure to Ujamaa across space and across age cohorts to identify the effect of the policy. We show persistent, positive effects on national identity and on views of the state. We observe no systematic changes among cohorts that were above or below treatment age during Ujamaa. Our preferred interpretation, supported by evidence that considers alternative hypotheses, is that changes to the educational content drive our findings. Moreover, while the policy contributed to building a strong national identity among exposed cohorts, it led to a persistent decrease in their demands for democratic accountability.

China's Foreign Aid: Political Determinants and Economic Effects

*Submitted* Can foreign aid foster economic development, even if it is given to satisfy the objectives of the donor country? I study this highly debated question in the context of Chinese infrastructure aid, which has received much attention from policymakers. I link project-level aid data with administrative firm-level data from China to identify political determinants and economic consequences of Chinese aid. I document that when there is labor unrest in a Chinese prefecture, contracts for aid projects are allocated to state-owned firms in the prefecture, and employment by these firms increases. Connections between these firms and other countries mean that China's response to domestic unrest affects the allocation of Chinese aid projects to recipient countries. I exploit this variation to develop a novel instrument for identifying the causal effects of Chinese aid on recipients. I find large positive effects on GDP, consumption and employment. *Media coverage: Project Syndicate, US-China Today, VoxDev [forthcoming]*

The Long-Run Effects of Agricultural Productivity on Conflict, 1400–1900

*Draft under revision* This paper provides evidence of the long-run effects of a permanent increase in agricultural productivity on conflict. We construct a newly digitized and geo-referenced dataset of battles in Europe, the Near East, and North Africa from 1400–1900 CE and examine variation in agricultural productivity due to the introduction of potatoes from the Americas to the Old World after the Columbian Exchange. We find that the introduction of potatoes led to a sizeable and permanent reduction in conflict. *Media coverage: marginalrevolution.com*