Spreading Civilizations: Ancient Colonialism and Economic Development Along the Mediterranean
33 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2017 Last revised: 11 Dec 2017
Date Written: December 2017
This paper investigates the long-term economic legacy of ancient colonialism. The Phoenicians, Greeks and Etruscans spread around the Mediterranean from the 11th to the 6th centuries BCE in an early form of colonization, transferring their superior technologies and institutions to new locations. We find that areas colonized by these civilizations are today more developed in terms of higher light density at night. The results hold when controlling for country fixed effects, across continents (i.e., Africa, Asia, and Europe), and are robust to using alternative measures and historical sources of ancient colonies. This paper’s results suggest that the more advanced civilizations that ancient colonialism spread along the Mediterranean have left a positive economic legacy still visible today. This effect has persisted over time working at the local level and despite two millennia of historical turbulence.
Keywords: Economic Development, Ancient Colonialism, History, Mediterranean
JEL Classification: C21, N93, O1
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