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The Long-Run Effects of Agricultural Productivity on Conflict, 1400-1900

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Listed:
  • Iyigun, Murat

    () (University of Colorado, Boulder)

  • Nunn, Nathan

    () (Harvard University)

  • Qian, Nancy

    () (Northwestern University)

Abstract

This paper provides evidence of the long-run effects of a permanent increase in agricultural productivity on conflict. We construct a newly digitized and geo-referenced dataset of battles in Europe, the Near East and North Africa covering the period between 1400 and 1900 CE. For variation in permanent improvements in agricultural productivity, we exploit the introduction of potatoes from the Americas to the Old World after the Columbian Exchange. We find that the introduction of potatoes permanently reduced conflict for roughly two centuries. The results are driven by a reduction in civil conflicts.

Suggested Citation

  • Iyigun, Murat & Nunn, Nathan & Qian, Nancy, 2017. "The Long-Run Effects of Agricultural Productivity on Conflict, 1400-1900," IZA Discussion Papers 11189, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11189
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Jonathan Hersh & Joachim Voth, 2009. "Sweet diversity: Colonial goods and the rise of European living standards after 1492," Economics Working Papers 1163, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jan 2011.
    3. Besley, Timothy J. & Persson, Torsten, 2008. "The Incidence of Civil War: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 7101, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Justin Cook, C., 2014. "Potatoes, milk, and the Old World population boom," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 123-138.
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    6. Markus Brückner & Antonio Ciccone, 2010. "International Commodity Prices, Growth and the Outbreak of Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 519-534, May.
    7. van Driel, Hans & Nadall, Venuta & Zeelenberg, Kees, 1997. "The Demand for Food in the United States and the Netherlands: A Systems Approach with the CBS Model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(5), pages 509-523, Sept.-Oct.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew Dickens, 2019. "The Historical Roots of Ethnic Differences: The Role of Geography and Trade," Working Papers 1901, Brock University, Department of Economics.
    2. repec:eee:jeeman:v:92:y:2018:i:c:p:397-417 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Becker, Sascha O. & Ferrara, Andreas & Melander, Eric & Pascali, Luigi, 2018. "Wars, Local Political Institutions, and Fiscal Capacity: Evidence from Six Centuries of German History," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 395, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    conflict; natural resources; long-run development;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q34 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts

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