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

  • Nathan Nunn
  • Nancy Qian

This paper provides an overview of the long-term impacts of the Columbian Exchange -- that is, the exchange of diseases, ideas, food crops, technologies, populations, and cultures between the New World and the Old World after Christopher Columbus' voyage to the Americas in 1492. We focus on the aspects of the exchange that have been most neglected by economic studies; namely the transfer of diseases, food crops, and knowledge between the two Worlds. We pay particular attention to the effects of the exchange on the Old World.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 24 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Pages: 163-88

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:24:y:2010:i:2:p:163-88
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.24.2.163
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  1. Nunn, Nathan, 2008. "The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," Scholarly Articles 3710252, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Daniel Berkowitz, 2005. "American Civil Law Origins: Implications for State Constitutions," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 62-84.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  4. Nathan Nunn & Nancy Qian, 2011. "The Potato's Contribution to Population and Urbanization: Evidence From A Historical Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 593-650.
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