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Maize and Precolonial Africa

Author

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  • Jevan Cherniwchan
  • Juan Moreno-Cruz

Abstract

Columbus’s arrival in the New World triggered an unprecedented movement of people and crops across the Atlantic Ocean. We study an overlooked part of this Columbian Exchange: the effects of New World crops in Africa. Specifically, we test the hypothesis that the introduction of maize increased population density and Trans-Atlantic slave exports in precolonial Africa. We find robust empirical support for these predictions. We also find little evidence to suggest maize increased economic growth or reduced conflict. Our results suggest that rather than stimulating development, the introduction of maize simply increased the supply of slaves during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Jevan Cherniwchan & Juan Moreno-Cruz, 2018. "Maize and Precolonial Africa," CESifo Working Paper Series 7018, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_7018
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew Dickens, 2020. "Understanding Ethnolinguistic Differences: The Roles of Geography and Trade," Working Papers 1901, Brock University, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2021.
    2. Moreno-Cruz, Juan & Taylor, M. Scott, 2020. "Food, Fuel and the Domesday Economy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 128(C).
    3. Boxell, Levi, 2019. "Droughts, conflict, and the African slave trade," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 774-791.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Africa; Columbian exchange; maize; slave trades;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N57 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Africa; Oceania
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General

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