I am grateful to Daron Acemoglu, Bob Allen, Josh Angrist, Abhijit Banerjee, John Coatsworth, David Cook, Knick Harley, Austin Huang, Nils Jacobsen, Alan Manning, Ben Olken, James Robinson, Peter Temin, Gary Urton, Heidi Williams, Jeff Williamson, and seminar participants at City University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Harvard, MIT, Oxford, Stanford Institute of Theoretical Economics, and Warwick for helpful comments and suggestions. I also thank Javier Escobal and Jennifer Jaw for assistance in accessing data. Research funding was provided by the George Webb Medley Fund (Oxford University).
The Persistent Effects of Peru's Mining Mita
Article first published online: 3 DEC 2010
© 2010 The Econometric Society
Volume 78, Issue 6, pages 1863–1903, November 2010
How to Cite
Dell, M. (2010), The Persistent Effects of Peru's Mining Mita. Econometrica, 78: 1863–1903. doi: 10.3982/ECTA8121
- Issue published online: 3 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 3 DEC 2010
- Manuscript received September, 2008; final revision received January, 2010.
- Forced labor;
- land tenure;
- public goods
This study utilizes regression discontinuity to examine the long-run impacts of the mita, an extensive forced mining labor system in effect in Peru and Bolivia between 1573 and 1812. Results indicate that a mita effect lowers household consumption by around 25% and increases the prevalence of stunted growth in children by around 6 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.