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For Whom the Bell Tolled:

Political Engagement, Taxes, and Welfare in Post-WWI Italy


What is the link between mass warfare and fiscal politics? Widespread soldier casualties can decrease a community's collective action capacity and reduce political participation. During post-war reconstruction, such population shocks can have deep implications for the development of tax and fiscal policy after the conflict. Leveraging extensive original archival data, I examine this argument in the context of post-WWI Italy. Municipalities with higher military fatalities experienced lower levels of political conflictuality. At the same time, these communities also saw less egalitarian policy outcomes, both with respect to tax progressivity and public expenditure.

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Distribution of WWI Soldier Casualties

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