Found 19 article(s) for author 'Nathan Nunn'

Culture and the Historical Process

Culture and the Historical Process. Nathan Nunn, 2012, Paper. “This article discusses the importance of accounting for cultural values and beliefs when studying the process of historical economic development. A notion of culture as heuristics or rules-of-thumb that aid in decision making is described. Because cultural traits evolve based upon relative fitness, historical shocks can have persistent impacts if they alter the costs and benefits of different traits. A number of empirical studies confirm that culture is an important mechanism that helps explain why historical shocks can have persistent impacts; these are reviewed here…” Link

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Fertility and the Plough

Fertility and the Plough. Nathan Nunn, 2011, Paper. “Recent studies provide evidence that a significant portion of the cross-country variation in female labor participation and fertility can be explained by cultural norms. In a recent paper, we examine the historical origins of these cultural differences (see Alesina, Giuliano, and Nunn 2010). We test the long-standing hypothesis, first developed by Ester Boserup (1970), that different attitudes about gender roles evolved because of differences in the form of agriculture traditionally practiced. In societies with shifting cultivation, agriculture is labor intensive, cultivation uses a hoe or a digging stick, and women actively participate…” Link

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The Potato’s Contribution to Population and Urbanization: Evidence from a Historical Experiment

The Potato’s Contribution to Population and Urbanization: Evidence from a Historical Experiment. Nathan Nunn, 2011, Paper. “We exploit regional variation in suitability for cultivating potatoes, together with time variation arising from their introduction to the Old World from the Americas, to estimate the impact of potatoes on Old World population and urbanization. Our results show that the introduction of the potato was responsible for a significant portion of the increase in population and urbanization observed during the 18th and 19th centuries. According to our most conservative estimates, the introduction of the potato accounts for…” Link

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The Structure of Tariffs and Long-Term Growth

The Structure of Tariffs and Long-Term Growth. Nathan Nunn, October 2010, Paper. “We show that the “skill bias” of a country’s tariff structure is positively correlated with long-term per capita GDP growth. Testing for causal mechanisms, we find evidence consistent with the existence of real benefits from tariffs focused in skill-intensive industries. However, this only accounts for a quarter of the total correlation between skill-biased tariffs and growth. Turning to alternative explanations we extend the standard Grossman-Helpman “protection-for-sale” model and show how the skill bias of tariffs can…” Link

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The Columbian Exchange: A History of Disease, Food, and Ideas

The Columbian Exchange: A History of Disease, Food, and Ideas. Nathan Nunn, Spring 2010, Paper. “The Columbian Exchange refers to the exchange of diseases, ideas, food, crops, and populations between the New World and the Old World following the voyage to the Americas by Christopher Columbus in 1492. The Old World — by which we mean not just Europe, but the entire Eastern Hemisphere — gained from the Columbian Exchange in a number of ways. Discoveries of new supplies of metals are perhaps the best known. But the Old World also gained new staple crops, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, maize and cassava…” Link

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Shackled to the Past: The Causes and Consequences of Africa’s Slave Trades

Shackled to the Past: The Causes and Consequences of Africa’s Slave Trades. Nathan Nunn, August 2008, Book Chapter.“This chapter uses statistical techniques to assess whether there is evidence that Africa’s slave trades had a detrimental impact on long-term economic development. This is done by first constructing estimates of the number of slaves taken from each region of Africa between 1400 and 1900. The estimates are constructed by combining data on the number of slaves shipped from African ports with data from historical records reporting the ethnic identities of slaves taken from Africa…” Link

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Slavery, Inequality, and Economic Development in the Americas: An Examination of the Engerman-Sokoloff Hypothesis

Slavery, Inequality, and Economic Development in the Americas: An Examination of the Engerman-Sokoloff Hypothesis, Nathan Nunn, October 2007, Book Chapter. “Recent research argues that among former New World colonies a nation’s past dependence on slave labor was important for its subsequent economic development (Engerman and Sokoloff, 1997, 2002). It is argued that specialization in plantation agriculture, with its use of slave labor, caused economic inequality, which concentrated power in the hands of a small elite, adversely affecting the development of domestic institutions needed for sustained economic growth…” Link

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RELATIONSHIP-SPECIFICITY, INCOMPLETE CONTRACTS, AND THE PATTERN OF TRADE. Nathan Nunn, May 2007, Paper. “Is a country’s ability to enforce contracts an important determinant of comparative advantage? To answer this question, I construct a variable that measures, for each good, the proportion of its intermediate inputs that require relationship-specific investments. Combining this measure with data on trade flows and judicial quality, I find that countries with good contract enforcement specialize in the production of goods for which relationship-specific investments are most important…” Link

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Historical legacies: A model linking Africa’s past to its current underdevelopment

Historical legacies: A model linking Africa’s past to its current underdevelopment. Nathan Nunn, 2007, Paper. “Recent studies have found evidence linking Africa’s current under-development to colonial rule and the slave trade. Given that these events ended long ago, why do they continue to matter today? I develop a model, exhibiting path dependence, which provides one explanation for why these past events may have lasting impacts. The model has multiple equilibria: one equilibrium with secure property rights and a high level of production and others with insecure property rights and low levels of production…” Link

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