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The Potato's Contribution to Population and Urbanization: Evidence from an Historical Experiment

  • Nunn, Nathan
  • Qian, Nancy

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.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7364.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7364
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  1. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:1:p:83-116 is not listed on IDEAS
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  5. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," MPRA Paper 4134, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  19. Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2006. "Why England? Demographic factors, structural change and physical capital accumulation during the Industrial Revolution," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 319-361, December.
  20. Nathan Nunn & Nancy Qian, 2010. "The Columbian Exchange: A History of Disease, Food, and Ideas," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 163-88, Spring.
  21. Xin Meng & Nancy Qian, 2009. "The Long Term Consequences of Famine on Survivors: Evidence from a Unique Natural Experiment using China's Great Famine," NBER Working Papers 14917, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
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  25. Oded Galor, 2006. "The Demographic Transition," Working Papers 2006-24, Brown University, Department of Economics.
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