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?

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: Voxeu 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.