Lukas Rosenberger

Assistant Professor
LMU Munich
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Lukas Rosenberger

About Me

I am an Assistant Professor in Economics (non-tenure track) at LMU Munich. Previously, I was a Postdoctoral Scholar in Economics at Northwestern University’s Center for Economic History. I graduated Ph.D. in Economics (Dr. oec. publ.) from LMU Munich with a dissertation on “Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution, and the Knowledge Economy”. During my doctoral studies, I visited Northwestern University and Brown University.

Bio: [curriculum vitae]

Contact: lukas.rosenberger(a)econ.lmu.de

Working Papers

The American Origin of the French Revolution
  with Sebastian Ottinger
  [Draft December 2023] [Draft October 2023] [IZA Discussion Paper]

Abstract We show that the French combatants' exposure to the United States increased support for the French Revolution a decade later. French regions from which more American combatants originated had more revolts against feudal institutions, revolutionary societies, volunteers for the revolutionary army, and emigrants from the Old Regime's elite. To establish causality, we exploit two historical coincidences: i) originally, a French army of seven and a half thousand was ready to sail, but one-third did not; ii) among those deployed, only some regiments were stationed in New England. Only combatants exposed to New England affected the French Revolution after their return.

Why Britain? The Right Place (in the Technology Space) at the Right Time
  with Carl Hallmann and W. Walker Hanlon
  [Draft July 2022], presented at the NBER Summer Institute

Abstract Why did Britain attain economic leadership during the Industrial Revolution? We argue that Britain possessed an important but underappreciated innovation advantage: British inventors worked in technologies that were more central within the innovation network. We offer a new approach for measuring the innovation network using patent data from Britain and France in the 18th and early 19th century. We show that the network influenced innovation outcomes and then demonstrate that British inventors worked in more central technologies within the innovation network than inventors from France. Then, drawing on recently-developed theoretical tools, we quantify the implications for technology growth rates in Britain compared to France. Our results indicate that the shape of the innovation network, and the location of British inventors within it, can help explain the more rapid technological growth in Britain during the Industrial Revolution.

Invention and Technological Leadership during the Industrial Revolution
  with Carl Hallmann and Emre E. Yavuz
  [Draft November 2021]

Abstract This paper provides the first empirical cross-country evidence on inventive activity during the Industrial Revolution. Idiosyncrasies in the French historic patent law allow us to compare invention rates in Britain and France across sectors based on French patent data from 1791 to 1855. Our key result is a robust, positive association of invention rates in Britain and France at the sectoral level. Furthermore, we provide the first quantitative evidence on technological leadership in invention at the sectoral level. The evidence informs a debate about whether the acceleration of technological progress during the Industrial Revolution mainly was a British or a European achievement, which has implications for theories of growth and innovation.

Work in progress

From Science Education to Scientific Society: Knowledge Elites in the Age of Enlightenment
  with Uwe Sunde (LMU Munich).  

Abstract Upper-tail knowledge is increasingly seen as a pivotal factor enabling modern economic growth to emerge in Western Europe. This paper documents the important role of formal, and in particular science-based education in schools for diffusing upper-tail knowledge. Focusing on France, a country at the forefront of Enlightenment and Science in the eighteenth century, we construct a novel dataset on the establishment and the curriculum of the universe of public secondary schools (so-called collèges) from 1500 to 1789. Comparing towns with science track to towns without science track in the local collège in 1750, we find that science education is strongly positively associated with different proxies for upper-tail knowledge elites like scientific societies or subscriptions to the Enlightenment Encyclopédie. We then study the origins of schools and the science curriculum, highlighting the importance of religious competition in the post-reformation period. We find that Catholic Bishop’s seats strongly predict the establishment of schools but not the shift of the curriculum towards science. In contrast, Jesuits (a Catholic teaching order) established science chairs at colleges from ca 1600 and were more likely to do so in the presence of a local Huguenot community.

Access to Useful Knowledge and Economic Growth: Evidence from Enlightenment Encyclopedias

Abstract This paper shows that enlightenment encyclopedias contributed to accelerating economic growth during the Industrial Revolution by providing access to useful technological knowledge. Drawing on novel city-level data from a trade directory of European booksellers in 1781, I first document (i) a robust positive association between city population growth from 1750 to 1850 and the number of booksellers per capita; (ii) that booksellers strongly predict city-level sales of two pivotal encyclopedias of useful knowledge; (iii) and that these sales mediate the association of city growth and booksellers. To isolate variation in the supply of encyclopedias, I consider the role of geographical proximity of booksellers to the encyclopedia's publishers, which affected the booksellers' wholesale access. Specifically, I use the interaction of booksellers and proximity to the publisher, conditioning separately on booksellers and on proximity, to instrument for encyclopedia sales. The 2SLS results confirm that cities with better access to useful knowledge grew faster after 1750 but not before.