I have a new project funded by the NWO VIDI (800,000 euro), which goes by the title "Positively Shocking! The Redistributive Impact of Mass Mortality through Epidemic Diseases and Violent Conflict in Early Modern Northwest Europe". It looks to test recent arguments that catastrophic shocks such as violent conflict and epidemic diseases were the only times throughout history when societies became more equitable - in particular by trying to obtain much more systematic empirical evidence for the pre-industrial period. It is my contention that there were a number of societal and epidemiological conditions that allowed the direction of redistribution to deviate from this suggested pattern.
I am happy to hear from any prospective students (BA/MA/PhD) interested in the broad domain of environmental hazards, famines and diseases in the past, and their implications for social and economic development over the long term.