Luis Bosshart

Luis Bosshart

PhD Candidate
London School of Economics

I work on political economy and study how institutions shape political and economic development over time. I’m currently a PhD candidate in the Government Department at the London School of Economics. [CV]

Political Competition and Economic Divergence: European Development Before and After the Black Death, with J. Dittmar
Abstract [Video]
We document how the Black Death activated political competition and led to economic divergence within Europe. Before the pandemic, economic development was similar in Eastern and Western German cities despite greater political fragmentation in the West. The pandemic led to a divergence that reflected regional differences in politics. After the pandemic, construction and manufacturing fell by 1/3 in the East relative to underlying trends and the Western path. Politics institutionalizing local self- government advanced in the West, but not in the East. This divergence is observed across otherwise similar cities along historic borders and foreshadows a subsequent divergence in agriculture.

Shifting Norms and Political Demand: Denazification in postwar Germany
Can states and societies shift social norms at scale? In a major denazification program, millions of Germans were questioned about their political past by courts. I document how denazification shaped the emerging political landscape in postwar Germany. Using three identification strategies, I find that broader denazification reduced the demand for nationalist policies and changed social norms. Differences seem driven by mass rather than elite cases and political consequences are observed absent major differences in punishment. The results indicate that the breadth of transitional justice may be more important than its severity. As such, the study has important implications for the design of transitional policies following autocratic rule.

Work in Progress

War Made the Absolutist State: State Formation and the Thirty Years‘ War, with M. Weigand

Red Zones: Forced Displacement and Support for Far-Right Parties, with E. Dinas, F. Foos, and V. Fouka

Trade Shock and Political Development in Early Modern Poland, with J. Dittmar 

Mass Media of Remembering: The Role of TV in Coming to Terms with the Nazi Past