I'm an Associate Professor in the Economics Department at George Mason University.

My research interests include:

  • The historical origins of modern liberal institutions. You can purchase my book (written with Mark Koyama) here: Persecution & Toleration: The Long Road to Religious Freedom. Here is a link to the book's webpage.
  • The relationship between state capacity and economic growth.
  • The impact of environmental shocks on institutional change and economic outcomes.
  • Applied Econometrics with a particular emphasis on spatial data.
  • Identification and Causality.

What’s New?

9-10-2019: I'll be visiting at the Paris School of Economics in December. Lot's of really interesting people at PSE who I look forward to hanging out with. And, of course, Paris is beautiful in the winter time.

9-10-2019: I'll be at the Economic History Association Meetings in Atlanta this weekend. Looking forward to seeing friends and hearing about research from new scholars.

9-3-2019: I'm looking forward to presenting my research on The Effects of Land Redistribution during the French Revolution at Bocconi University on October 25 for the Workshop on Politics, Social Mobility, and Inequality.

8-12-2019: The next iteration of the Washington Area Economic History and Development Workshop is coming up on August 23. It looks like a great program.

8-12-2019: I'm looking forward to attending and speaking at the upcoming Conference on Understanding State Capacity at the University of Manchester over Thanksgiving (sorry family!). Nuno Palma and Xiaobing Wang are doing a great job with the organization.

7-3-2019: Newsweek has just published my op-ed on what historical witchcraft trials can teach us about rule of law today.

7-3-2019: Vox has published our write-up of our research on the effects of the Black Death on long-run city growth.

7-3-2019: Cameron Harwick has written a great review of our book, Persecution and Toleration: The Long Road to Religious Freedom on the Liberal Currents webpage.

7-3-2019: I'm looking forward to attending the NBER Summer Institute Urban Economics Workshop. We'll be presenting out work on the Back Death and City Growth.

3-28-2019: Had a great time presenting material from Mark Koyama’s and my book Persecution & Toleration: The Long Road to Religious Freedom in the PPE Workshop here at GMU. Lot’s of great comments from the audience and just a really well organized event. Here’s a link to the slides for the presentation.

3-16-2019: Looking forward to discussing Timur Kuran’s new MS on under-development in the Middle East titled Freedoms Delayed in a book conference sponsored by the Mercatus Center this weekend.

3-5-2019: Mark and I just finished a Cato Unbound forum on Religious Freedom and the Modern State. It was lots of fun. Thanks to James Robinson, Dalibor Rohac, and Hans Eicholz for participating.

3-5-2019: My book with Mark Koyama, Persecution & Toleration: The Long Road to Religious Freedom, is now available for order on Amazon in the US (it’s already shipping in the UK). Here is an essay describing the main thesis of the book. Here are some presentation slides.

3-5-2019: I had a great time doing an interview with my colleague Tyler Cowen on his podcast Conversations with Tyler.

3-4-2019: Looking forward to attending the conference on Deep-Rooted Factors in Economic Development in May at Brown University. It’s a great group and always a rewarding discussion.

2-9-2019: I’ll be presenting my work on “Taxes, National Identity, and Nation Building: Evidence from France” at NYU-Abu Dhabi in Workshop on Historical Political Economy, March 15-17.

1-21-2019: I’ll be presenting our work on the effects of the Black Death on the urban network at Bocconi University in Milan on February 4. The paper is here.

1-21-2019: Our paper on the Black Death and Jewish Persecution has been accepted at the Journal of Economic Growth.