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Bruno Caprettini

Economic History and Economic Development

About me

I am a post-doc at the Economics Department of University of Zurich. I work on development, political economy and economic history.

What is new?

Joachim, Quentin & I are looking for bright and enthusiastic students for a 1-year pre-doc at UZH. Download the call here.

I’m an economist working on development, political economy and economic history. I’m especially interested in how new technologies help agrarian societies industrialize. I hold a Ph.D. from Universitat Pompeu Fabra and I was visiting Ph.D. student at Princeton. I’m currently a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Zurich, where the Swiss National Foundation generously sponsors my position with the program SNF Ambizione. In 2020, I was a visiting fellow at the Center for Economic History at Northwestern University.

Here you find two of my publications. For more, visit my research page.

Rage Against the Machines

What happens when the machines take over? When robots, powered by AI, can do almost everything better than humans?  Will workers substituted by machines adapt and find new jobs, or will they revolt and fight back?
In “Rage Against the Machines” Joachim and I look at Industrializing Britain and the Swing of 1830 to answer these questions.

Agricultural Productivity and Structural Transformation

When countries trade with each other, advanced agricultural technology can delay industrialization, because countries where agriculture is more productive will specialize in this sector and will trade agricultural goods for manufactures. But what happens when farmers adopts a new, labor-saving technology? In Agricultural Productivity and Structural Transformation Paula, Jacopo and I show that when new agricultural technologies are labor-saving, they allow to expand agricultural production and promote reallocation of labor to the manufacturing sector at the same time.