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Political Science and Political Economy Research Seminar

Bourbon Reforms and State Capacity in the Spanish Empire.

Luis R. Martinez (University of Chicago)

Tuesday 07 November 2023 14:00 - 15:30

Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.

Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.

Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.

About this event

We study state modernization and its fiscal and political consequences in Spain's American empire during the 18th century. We focus on the intendancy system, whereby the Bourbon rulers introduced a new corps of provincial governors to address misgovernance by local colonial officers. Our empirical strategy leverages the staggered implementation of this reform across the empire, extending from present-day Mexico to Argentina. Using fine-grained administrative data from the royal treasuries, we show that the intendancy system led to a sizable increase in Crown revenue, driven by a strengthening of state presence in the periphery and the disruption of local elite capture. The reform also caused a reduction in the incidence of rebellions by indigenous people, who were harshly exploited under the status quo. However, the intendancy system heightened tensions with the local Creole elites, as reflected by naming patterns, plausibly contributing to the nascent independence movement.

The Political Science and Political Economy (PSPE) research group at the LSE brings together faculty and PhD students who do quantitative and/or formal research on political institutions, political behaviour, public policy, and political economy.

The PSPE Research Seminar provides a venue for researchers (mostly from outside of the LSE) to present their work.

These seminars are held on Tuesdays in term time at 14.00-15.30, both ONLINE AND IN PERSON in room SAL 3.05, unless specified otherwise.

Seminar coordinator: Mathilde Emeriau

Contact to be added to the mailing list and to recieve the zoom link.

For further information please contact Maddie Giles: