Monday, January 20, 2014

The Wild West is Wild: The Homicide Resource Curse

New Working Paper: We uncover interpersonal violence as a dimension and a mechanism of the resource curse. We rely on a historical natural experiment in the United States, in which mineral discoveries occurred at various stages of governmental territorial expansion. \Early" mineral discoveries, before full-edge rule of law is in place in a county, are associated with higher levels of inter-personal violence, historically and today. The persistence of this homicide resource curse is partly explained by the low quality of -subsequent- judicial
institutions. The speci city of our results to violent crime also suggests that a private order of property rights did emerge on the frontier, but that it was enforced by high levels of interpersonal violence. The results are robust to state-speci c e ects, to comparing only neighboring counties, and to comparing only discoveries within short time intervals.

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