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The Importance of History for Economic Development

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  • Nathan Nunn

    (Department of Economics, Harvard University and NBER, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138)

Abstract

This article provides a survey of a growing body of empirical evidence that points toward the important long-term effects that historic events can have on economic development. The most recent studies, using microlevel data and more sophisticated identification techniques, have moved beyond testing whether history matters and attempt to identify exactly why history matters. The most commonly examined channels include institutions, culture, knowledge and technology, and movements between multiple equilibria. The article concludes with a discussion of the questions that remain and the direction of current research in the literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Nathan Nunn, 2009. "The Importance of History for Economic Development," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 65-92, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:anr:reveco:v:1:y:2009:p:65-92
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    File URL: http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.economics.050708.143336
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    path dependence; colonialism; institutions; norms; culture;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • N01 - Economic History - - General - - - Development of the Discipline: Historiographical; Sources and Methods
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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    1. Economic Growth

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