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

  • Nathan Nunn
  • Nancy Qian

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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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15157.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15157.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
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Publication status: published as "The Potato's Contribution to Population and Urbanization: Evidence From A Historical Experiment" Nathan Nunn and Nancy Qian Quarterly Journal of Economics (2011) 126 (2): 593-650.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15157
Note: CH DAE POL
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  2. 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 509-23, Sept.-Oct.
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  9. Oded Galor, 2006. "The Demographic Transition," Working Papers 2006-24, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  10. Nathan Nunn, 2007. "The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," NBER Working Papers 13367, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Komlos, John & Hau, Michel & Bourginat, Nicolas, 2003. "An Anthropometric History of Early-Modern France," Discussion Papers in Economics 54, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
  15. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker Than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116, February.
  16. Oded Galor, 2004. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," GE, Growth, Math methods 0409003, EconWPA.
  17. 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: Reply," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(5), pages 530-32, Sept.-Oct.
  18. David Cutler & Grant Miller, 2005. "The role of public health improvements in health advances: The twentieth-century United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 1-22, February.
  19. Richard Tiffin & Xavier Irz, 2006. "Is agriculture the engine of growth?," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 35(1), pages 79-89, 07.
  20. 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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