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

63 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2018 Last revised: 7 Feb 2020

See all articles by Murat Iyigun

Murat Iyigun

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics; Harvard University - Center for International Development (CID); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Nathan Nunn

Harvard University - Department of Economics

Nancy Qian

Yale University - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 4 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 20, 2017

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.

Keywords: conflict, natural resources, long-run development

JEL Classification: D74, O13, Q34

Suggested Citation

Iyigun, Murat F. and Nunn, Nathan and Qian, Nancy, The Long-Run Effects of Agricultural Productivity on Conflict, 1400-1900 (November 20, 2017). Global Poverty Research Lab Working Paper No. 17-114, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3127089 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3127089

Murat F. Iyigun

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics ( email )

Campus Box 256
Boulder, CO 80309
United States
303-492-6653 (Phone)
303-492-8622 (Fax)

Harvard University - Center for International Development (CID) ( email )

One Eliot Street Building
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Nathan Nunn

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Nancy Qian (Contact Author)

Yale University - Department of Economics ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States

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