Nathan Lane

I am postdoctoral researcher at MIT's Department of Economics. Starting fall 2018, I will be a lecturer (assistant professor) at Monash University's Department of Economics.

My research broadly focuses on economic development, political economy, economic history, and growth. Specifically, I study issues of industrial development, including industrial policy; the political economy of development strategy; and the relationship between state capacity and growth. My current projects have focused on Asian economic development, using applied econometric methods and archival data.


Current Working Paper

Manufacturing Revolutions

Industrial Policy and Networks in South Korea

Abstract - This paper uses a historic big push intervention with digitized data from South Korea to study the effects of industrial policy on (short- and long-run) industrial development. In 1973 South Korea transitioned to a military dictatorship and drastically changed their development strategy. I find industries targeted by the regime's big push grew significantly more than non-targeted industries along several key dimensions of industrial development. These developmental effects persisted after industrial policies were retrenched, following the 1979 assassination of the president. Furthermore, I estimate the spillovers of the industrial policies using exogenous variation in the exposure to the policy across the input-output network. I find evidence of persistent pecuniary externalities like those posited by big push development theorists, such as Albert Hirschman. In other words, I find that South Korea’s controversial industrial policy was successful in producing industrial development, the benefits of which persisted through time and in industries not directly targeted by the policies.


The Historical State, Local Collective Action, and Economic Development in Vietnam. Forthcoming (conditionally accepted), ECONOMETRICA. With Melissa Dell (Harvard) and Pablo Querubin (NYU)

Work in Progress

Workers of the World, Unite: The Economic Effects of Labor Day Demonstrations in Europe with Andreas Madestam (Stockholm University) and David Yanagizawa-Drott (ETH-Zurich)