History matters: development and institutional persistence of the Habsburg Military Frontier in Croatia

Keywords: development, geographic regression discontinuity, institutions, macroeconomics

Abstract

In this paper we explore the effect of the long-gone Habsburg Military Frontier on modern institutions in Croatia. We use the Life in Transition Survey and geographic regression discontinuity design to identify the causal mechanism between historical institutions and attitudes towards trust and corruption. We find that the areas of the former Military Frontier are underdeveloped and poorer with worse economic performance indicators. Our results suggest that respondents living in the former Military Frontier territory have lower levels of interpersonal trust, a higher level of trust in public authorities, but also tend to bribe those institutions more often when they interact with them. We claim that the war in Yugoslavia in the 1990s is not just a confounding factor in the analysis but also a potential channel and find evidence that attitudes towards bribery can survive even harsh wars, while trust in public institutions collapses during extreme events of violence.

Published
2020-03-03
How to Cite
Tkalec, M. (2020). History matters: development and institutional persistence of the Habsburg Military Frontier in Croatia. Public Sector Economics, 44(1), 117-145. Retrieved from https://hrcak.srce.hr/ojs/index.php/pse/article/view/10441
Section
Articles