School of Economics

NICEP Seminar: Yanos Zylberberg (University of Bristol)

A40 Clive Granger Building
Thursday 9th March 2023 (15:00-16:00)

Title:  Nation-building and mass migration: Evidence from Mandatory Palestine (with Panza)

Abstract:  This paper focuses on the grassroots of nation-building in times of mass migration. We identify the key factors explaining the rise of societal leaders from the scattered, heterogeneous communities of Mandatory Palestine between 1920 and 1948. Our empirical strategy relies on a new "frontier expansion'' algorithm to predict the dynamics of Jewish settlement creation, which we combine with migrant characteristics in a shift-share design to isolate exogenous variation in the local composition of settlers across locations. We find that: (i) leaders that were instrumental to nation-building in the early state of Israel were much more likely to come from diverse communities; (ii) these diverse communities experienced fewer Arab civilian casualties during the first Arab-Israeli War; and (iii) these effects are entirely confined to Kibbutzim, i.e., integrated settlements with communal lifestyle. Qualitative evidence further suggests that diverse, tightly-knitted communities were indeed facing nation-building challenges at a more local level, i.e., setting up institutions to dissolve previous ethnic ties and build a new common identity.

Host:  Valeria Rueda




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