The persistence of colonial institutions

A look at at the long-run impacts of the mita, a forced mining labor system in Peru and Bolivia from the 16th to 19th centuries:.

Results indicate that a mita effect lowers household consumption by around 25% and increases the prevalence of stunted growth in children by around six percentage points in subjected districts today.

Using data from the Spanish Empire and Peruvian Republic to trace channels of institutional persistence, I show that the mita’s influence has persisted through its impacts on land tenure and public goods provision.

Mita districts historically had fewer large landowners and lower educational attainment. Today, they are less integrated into road networks, and their residents are substantially more likely to be subsistence farmers.

From Melissa Dell, a MIT PhD student. Published in Econometrica, and not even her job market paper.

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