Papers and research projects
Explorations in Economic History
This paper presents comprehensive estimates of income inequality in Mexico in 1895, 1910, 1930 and 1940. Inequality grew from 1895 to 1910, driven by economic expansion within an oligarchical political economy. Incomes grew for the lower classes, but the main beneficiaries were larger landowners and businessmen. In the revolutionary period from 1910 to 1930 inequality decreased especially because of land reforms, benefitting peasants at the expense of the large landowners. But the economic structure of the country was not fundamentally changed, and in the 1930s inequality grew as incomes of peasants and those in the informal sector fell behind manufacturing and other high-earning sectors. The Mexican case shows the interaction of economics, demography and politics in determining economic inequality.
Coauthored with Erik Bengtsson (Lund University).
Revista de Historia Economica - Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History (Forthcoming).
Coauthored with Alice Krozer (El Colégio de México)
Revista de Historia Economica - Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History
Published Book Chapters
The institution of the dowry as an instrument of wealth transmission in preindustrial societies constituted an important mechanism to accumulate wealth, preserve socioeconomic status, or as a strategy to enjoy upward mobility for families throughout the entire social spectrum. Considering dowry size being roughly proportional to issuer and recipient families’ wealth, understanding related practices and trends can help shed light on the processes of inequality creation and dynamics. This chapter makes two main contributions. First, employing a unique dataset of dowries from early to mid-19th-century Mexico, we compare the distribution of wealth in the dowries to that of wills and show how, in the absence of administrative data, the dowries are a good proxy for wealth inequality in society. Second, the dowry as an institution enhances our understanding of elite reproduction. By comparing the evolution of wealth registered in the dowries through time, we can observe how the amount of wealth allocated in the marriage market changes in response to the economy. Maintaining endogamic practices, the behavior of the elites adjusts to these economic changes, including the increased commercialization of cities and the boom-and-bust cycles of a predominantly extractivist agricultural and mining economy.
Coauthored with Alice Krozer (El Colegio de México).
Wealth, Development, and Social Inequalities in Latin America
Couthored with Sergio Silva Castañeda (Banco de México).
As war is an eminently political event, the impact of wars on inequality can be seen as an expression of the politics in society. This paper engages with the ongoing literature relating warfare to wealth inequality dynamics in a pre-industrial world. It employs an unbalanced panel of wills in a combined event study and instrument variables research designs to explore the wealth inequality dynamics in Mexico during the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. The findings suggest that weak public finances and financial crisis led to increasing wealth inequality through military expenditures and national debt. However, the formation of a regressive fiscal-military state and a levelling effect of warfare can coexist. Inequality depends on how war is financed and how destructive to capital and wealth the war is.
Uppsala Papers in Economic History 2022/02
Work in progress
Revolutions: Inequality in comparative history.
Revolutions as violent political episodes are mass mobilization events that persue institutional change. Revolutions are reactions to the perceived responsibilities of the regime; therefore, revolutions are egalitarian in nature and aim for social justice (Goldstone 2014). In the four cases studied in this work, nationalism and inequality played a significant role in either the political discourse or the structural causes of the revolution. In that sense, the four revolutions that for Eric Wolf (1969) are characterized as “peasant wars” can be categorized to some extent as a "tide" (Katz 1998, p.126) of what we call "inequality revolutions". Therefore, it is logical to expect these revolutions to affect the distribution of resources in their respective societies significantly, but not necessarily by following the same dynamics.
Coauthored with Liang Zhao (Lund University) and Fumin Sui (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)
Work in early development
Inequality and elites in Yucatán during the 19th century. With Alice Krozer (El Colégio de México).
Twelve Thousand Years of Inequality Project. With Jakob Molinder (Uppsala University), Johan Ericsson (Uppsala University), William Skoglund (Uppsala University) and Liang Zhao (Lund University).
Cuban Inequality before and after the Revolution. With Amilcar Challú (Bowling Green State University ) and Sergio Silva Castañeda (Banco de México).
The Evolution of Chinese Inequality, 14th to the eve of the Chinese Revolution. With Liang Zhao (Lund University) and Jakob Molinder (Uppsala University).
Encroachment Economics Project. With Jonatan Andersson (Uppsala University) and William Skoglund (Uppsala University).
Six hundred leagues from the desert: Wealth and Exploitation in the shared history of Sonora and Yucatán, 1870-1910.
Mexican Inequality and Violence Maps. 1990-2015. With Fernanda Amaros (Gran Sasso Science Institute) and Rául Zepeda (King's College London).
Inequality and Narco Violence a spatial econometric approach. WIth Fernanda Amaros (Gran Sasso Science Institute) and Rául Zepeda (King's College London).
Corporativists vs Democratic Unions: Mexico and Sweden in the 1920-1940 period. WIth WIlliam Skoglund (Uppsala University).
Wealth Inequality in present-day Mexico. With Luis Ángel Monroy-Gómez-Franco (University of Amherst).
Comparative history of land reforms. With Kasper Hage Stjern (Uppsala University) and Liang Zhao (Lund University).
Historical energy transitions and financial flows. With Anders Ögren (Uppsala University)
The Torreón Chinese Massacre and its Urban Segregation effects. With Guillermo Woo Mora (Paris School of Economics), Luis Baldomero (William & Mary) and Enrique de la Rosa (King's College London).
Political elites and political capture in 19th century Mexico. With Diego Alejo Vazquez (Tec de Monterrey).