Comparative Politics

Comparative Politics

Ethnic Autonomy

Yu Sasaki Author ORCID home | opens in new tab Waseda University


This article explores the impact of the postal system on the consolidation of state authority in pre-modern Europe. Previous research indicates that geographical scale limits the state's ability to rule directly in this period. I argue that European states used the post to mitigate this constraint. Posts substantially reduced communications cost as an infrastructure of delivering information. I investigate the effect of postal service on state authority with a new data set on France. Using draft-desertion rates in the First Republic and the persistence of non-French speakers in a later period as my outcomes, I show that proximity to posts reduces them. I address the endogeneity concern that postal expansion is determined by confounding factors through two additional analyses: the first employs interactions using geographical distances to Paris and linguistic distances to French and the second focuses on the preexisting infrastructure that could induce postal location.

Summary of changes from Version 1

I have revised the conceptual framework, added a new outcome variable, and clarified the discussion on causal identification.


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