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Are Composers Different?
Historical Evidence on Conflict-induced Migration

Karol Jan Borowiecki
Trinity College Dublin

IIIS Discussion Paper No. 342


In this paper we explore whether, and to what extent, the incidence of war affects the migration intensity of 164 prominent classical composers born after 1800. This paper employs a novel data set, extracted from large music dictionaries. We model the aggregate stock of composers in a country and find that periods of war correspond negatively with the number of artists. In a rough comparison framework, we demonstrate that the relationship is considerably higher for composers than for the total population. We also shed some light on the decision-making processes of forced migrants and find that the stock of best and most skilled composers is mostly affected by the incidence of conflict, while the number of composers with established personal ties seems to be less impacted by wars.

Keywords : migration, refugee, conflict, war, geographic concentration, composer
JEL Categories: D74, F51, J61, Z10




Last updated 28 August 2014 by IIIS (Email).