One coin - One vote : the rural political power shift that pushed Sweden towards industrialization

Abstract: The Causal Effect of Political Power on the Provision of Public Education: Evidence from a Weighted Voting SystemWe estimate how political power affects the provision of public education in local governments, using data from a nondemocratic society where voters received votes in proportion to their taxable income. This was the system used in Swedish local governments during the period 1862–1909. We use two different identification strategies, a threshold regression analysis and a generalized event-study design, both of which exploit nonlinearities or discontinuities in the effect of political power between two opposing local elites: agricultural landowners and emerging industrialists. The results suggest that school spending is approximately 90–120% higher if the non-agrarian interest controls all of the votes compared to when landowners have a majority.The Causal Effect of Transport Infrastructure: Evidence from a New Historical DatabaseWe analyze the effect of railroad investments on economic growth and find large effects of having access to railways. For real non-agricultural income, the cumulative treatment effect is approximately 130% after 30 years. We also show that the effect is likely to reflect growth rather than a reorganization of existing economic activity since no spillover effects between treated and untreated regions are found. Our results are consistent with the big push hypothesis that argues that simultaneous and coordinated investment can generate economic growth if there are strong aggregate demand externalities. We corroborate this mechanism by using plant-level data and find that investments in local railways significantly increase local industrial production and employment.The Political Economics of Growth, Labor Control and Coercion: Evidence from a Suffrage Reform Here we analyze the breadth of Sweden’s industrial, economic and social development from the 1860s to the 1910s. By using a novel constructed historical dataset of approximately 2,400 Swedish local governments we find that the change in suffrage affected several outcomes at the local level. These outcomes include factor price manipulation in the form of entry barriers such as investments in local public education and transportation; technology adoption and labor productivity in agriculture and industry; changes in the real wage structure, composition of employment, and the structure of production; organized labor and labor coercion; demographic transition; and persistence in dysfunctional local political institutions. Our results support the idea that political institutions are a key determinant of long-term development and growth. Precipitation and Infant Mortality: Evidence from Sweden 1881–1950I analyze the dynamic effects of precipitation on infant mortality, using a panel dataset containing monthly mortality data from approximately 2,150 Swedish parishes and monthly precipitation levels collected at a number of weather stations around the country. Given that I use data from 1881 to 1950, the size of this novel panel dataset is considerable. Parishes have been matched to the closest weather station for every given month. Given that precipitation, is neither binary nor constant, a binned event-study design is used to estimate the dynamic effects with respect to the precipitation intensity. The results show that increased precipitation decreases infant mortality for both male and female infants. The dynamic effect after 4 months is about 8 percent.

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