Contact details:
E-mail:     S
Phone:     +41 21 692 33 00 - 3484
Address:  Université de Lausanne
                  Quartier UNIL-Dorigny
                  Bâtiment Internef
                  Bureau NEF 501.1
                  1015, Lausanne, Switzerland

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, PSE
zhuravsk [at]

Denis Cogneau,
denis.cogneau [at]

Thierry Verdier, PSE
thierry.verdier [at]

Seyhun Orcan SAKALLI

I am a post-doctoral research fellow at Department of Economics at the HEC - University of Lausanne until December 2018. 
My research mainly focuses on the interaction of group conflict and economic development. On the one hand, I investigate the economic determinants of group conflict; on the other hand, I aim to understand the effect of group conflict on economic development. I am also interested in understanding the interaction between socio-economic policies and culture.

Research interests Political Economy, Development Economics, and Economic History

Teaching: Economic Growth 
                      graduate: University of Lausanne, Spring 2016, Spring 2017

CV [pdf]


Middleman Minorities and Ethnic Conflict: Anti-Jewish Pogroms in the Russian Empire, joint with Irena Grosfeld and Ekaterina Zhuravskaya [pdf]
CEPR DP #12154, Revise and Resubmit, Review of Economic Studies

We present evidence to reconcile two seemingly contradictory observations: on the one hand, minorities often choose middleman occupations, such as traders and moneylenders, to avoid competition with the majority and, as a consequence, avoid conflict; on the other hand, middleman minorities do become the primary target of persecution. Using panel data on anti-Jewish pogroms in Eastern Europe between 1800 and 1927, we document that ethnic violence broke out when crop failures coincided with political turmoil. Crop failures without political turmoil did not cause pogroms. At the intersection of economic and political shocks, pogroms broke out in places where Jews dominated moneylending and trade in grain. This evidence is consistent with the following mechanism. When political situation was stable, negative economic shocks did not instigate pogroms because the majority valued future services of Jewish middlemen. In contrast, in times of a sharp increase in political uncertainty, Jewish middlemen became the primary target of mob violence following an economic shock as the value of their future services fell. Insolvent peasants turned against their creditors and urban dwellers turned against traders blaming them for an increase in grain prices.

Secularization and Religious Backlash: Evidence from Turkey [pdf(an earlier version was distributed under the title "Coexistence, Religiosity, and Education: The Armenian Legacy in Modern Turkey") 

How do people react to a policy that targets a cultural identity? This paper examines the effect of a top-down secularization of education reform on religiosity and education outcomes in the long run in Turkey. I exploit the coexistence of Muslims and non-Muslims that ended after WWI as a source of variation in the levels of religiosity of Muslims before the secularization.  After the secularization, residents of provinces with a higher pre-secularization levels of religiosity were more likely to give religious names to their children and less likely to send them to secular schools relative to others. They also support Islamist parties more and more frequently perform religious activities today.  I provide evidence consistent with the mechanism that pious parents avoided sending their children to secular schools in order to transmit their religious identities.

Mass Refugee Inflow and Human Capital Investments: Evidence from Greek Refugees in Greece
joint with Elie Murard [available upon request]

This paper investigates the long-term impact of mass refugee inflow on human capital development of host regions. After the Greco-Turkish war of 1919—1922, more than a million Greek refugees arrived in Greece — a country with less than five million inhabitants at the time. We build a novel data set that combines detailed historical census data in 1928 with education data from the 1971 and 1981 censuses. Exploiting variation across localities and across cohorts, difference-in-differences estimates suggest a positive effect of the inflow of refugees on human capital formation of the native population. Relative to unexposed cohorts, exposed cohorts that were young enough to have been in school during or after the arrival of refugees, are more likely to be literate and to complete primary school in provinces that hosted a greater number of refugees. This increase in schooling coincides with childhood exposure to the population shock and is not driven by pre-existing trends. The construction of new schools between 1920—1927 and the arrival
of refugee teachers are important mechanisms through which the inflow of refugees increased schooling. Overall, our results suggest that early investment in education as a part of refugee settlement efforts can have a positive impact on regional development in the long-run.