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Plague, Politics, and Pogroms: The Black Death, the Rule of Law, and the Persecution of Jews in the Holy Roman Empire

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This paper explores the institutional determinants of persecution by studying the intensity of the Black Death pogroms in the Holy Roman Empire. We provide evidence that communities governed by archbishoprics, bishoprics, and imperial free cities experienced more intense and violent persecutions than did those governed by the emperor. We suggest that political fragmentation exacerbated competition for the rents generated by Jewish moneylending, which made Jews more vulnerable during periods of crisis.

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