Yu Sasaki Kanazawa University
This article explores the evolution of state infrastructural capacity by studying postal networks in early-modern Europe. Previous research indicates that the capacity to collect information and identify population underlies other abilities such as revenue extraction and public goods provision. I argue that early-modern European states invested in postal service not only to reduce information costs but also to facilitate policy. I document evidence by constructing a new data set on France and investigate how France addressed difficult-to-achieve policy goals. Exploiting the distribution of postal offices across cities, I compute costs of travel from Paris and varying levels of travel costs for cities without a post. Using draft-desertion rates in the First Republic and the persistence of non-French speakers in the Third Republic as my outcomes, I show that increases in travel cost lead to higher rates in both outcomes. Robustness checks are conducted on ethnicity and the preexisting infrastructure.
Revised conceptual framework, newly constructed explanatory variable, dataset reorganized for a new unit of analysis, revamped empirical analysis
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