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

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  • Murat Iyigun
  • Nathan Nunn
  • Nancy Qian

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

  • Murat Iyigun & Nathan Nunn & Nancy Qian, 2017. "The Long-run Effects of Agricultural Productivity on Conflict, 1400-1900," NBER Working Papers 24066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24066
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    2. Ang, James B. & Gupta, Satyendra Kumar, 2018. "Agricultural yield and conflict," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 397-417.
    3. Andrew Dickens, 2022. "Understanding Ethnolinguistic Differences: The Roles of Geography and Trade," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 132(643), pages 953-980.
    4. 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).
    5. Fulgence Dominick Waryoba & Li Jing, 2019. "Consumption Uncertainty Reduction Among Sweet Potato Smallholder Farmers in Tanzania," Global Journal of Emerging Market Economies, Emerging Markets Forum, vol. 11(1-2), pages 132-147, January.
    6. 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).
    7. César Huaroto & Francisco Gallego, 2023. "The Legacy of the Spanish Conquista in the Andes: Mining Mita, Persistent Social Unrest, and Cultural Divergence," Documentos de Trabajo 568, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..

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    More about this item

    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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