Moscona, Jacob. "The Green Revolution and Structural Change: An Empirical Investigation of Modern Agricultural Development." Working Paper.
Abstract: This study exploits rapid technological development during the Green Revolution, which led to an unprecedented global surge in agricultural production, to estimate the causal effect of agricultural productivity growth on structural change from 1960-1990. Across districts in India, I find that agricultural productivity growth increased several proxies of rural well-being and spurred employment and land use in the agricultural sector, albeit a less equal distribution of land ownership. It also reduced urbanization and the size of the manufacturing and service-sector labor force. Politically, the Green Revolution increased the electoral success of rural opposition parties that lobbied for agrarian interests. Using an analogous identification strategy across countries, I find qualitatively identical effects on the sectoral distribution of land and labor and no evidence that the Green Revolution increased national incomes. If anything, the relationship for low-income countries is negative. Greater entrenchment in the agricultural sector is a robust effect of the Green Revolution both at the sub-national and national level. Broadly, these results suggest that a productivity shock may have limited or negative consequences in equilibrium by shifting individuals, resources, or political capital away from potentially more productive activity.
Moscona, Jacob, Nathan Nunn, and James A Robinson. "Social Structure and Conflict: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa." Working Paper.
Abstract: We test the long-standing hypothesis that ethnic groups that are organized around `segmentary lineages' are more prone to conflict and civil war. Ethnographic accounts suggest that in segmentary lineage societies, which are characterized by strong allegiances to distant relatives, individuals are obligated to come to the defense of fellow lineage members when they become involved in conflicts. As a consequence, small disagreements often escalate to larger-scale conflicts involving many individuals. We test for this link between segmentary lineage organization and conflict today across 145 ethnig groups in sub-Saharan Africa. Using a number of estimation strategies, including an RD design at ethnic boundaries, we find evidence that segmentary lineage societies experience significantly more conflicts and ones that are longer in duration and larger in scale. We also find that the previously-documented relationship between adverse rainfall shocks and conflict within Africa is only found within segmentary lineage societies.
Moscona, Jacob, Nathan Nunn, and James A Robinson. 2017. “Keeping It in the Family: Lineage Organization and the Scope of Trust in Sub-Saharan Africa.” American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings 107(5): 565-571.
Acemoglu, Daron, Jacob Moscona, and James A Robinson. 2016. “State Capacity and American Technology: Evidence from the 19th Century.” American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings 106(5): 61-67.