The Intergenerational Transmission of Historical Conflicts: An Application to China's Trade
54 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2018 Last revised: 26 May 2021
Date Written: November 20, 2020
We study the legacy effect and transmission mechanisms of historical conflict on contemporary trade. Using new data on the regional dispersion of civilian deaths due to massacres in the Sino-Japanese war (1931-45), we find that local conflict intensity predicts international trade patterns of Chinese corporations three generations later. We further explore the transmission mechanism of collective war memory. Conflict intensity correlates with measures of anti-Japanese sentiments inferred from survey data and it appears to be transmitted both through war dramas in the mass media as well as official commemorations. We also find evidence that the trade-inhibiting effect increases with the time exposed to local war memory.
Keywords: Historical conflicts, trade, war memory
JEL Classification: F14, F51, J11, N45, Z13
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