Agricultural Suitability and Colonization Choices

44 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2018

See all articles by James Ang

James Ang

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) - Division of Economics

Per G. Fredriksson

University of Louisville - College of Business - Department of Economics; Institute for Corruption Studies

Satyendra Kumar Gupta

Jindal School of Goverment and Public Policy, JIndal Global University

Date Written: April 11, 2018

Abstract

Historical evidence indicates that the quest for new territories by the Western European colonizers was driven by a strong incentive to produce sugar, tea, timber, and other commodities. Once arrived, settlers also had a clear interest in becoming self-sufficient in food. This paper establishes that the timing and duration of colonization by the Western European powers were strongly influenced by regional agro-ecological factors. In particular, the potential average crop yield is shown to have a robust effect on both the timing and duration of colonization. Areas with higher agricultural productivity tended to be colonized earlier and for a more extended duration. The findings are robust to controlling for multiple indicators of early development, geographical and ecological conditions, selection issues, and to the utilization of the Cox stratified proportional hazard model. Finally, we provide initial evidence that via its effect on the duration of colonization, agricultural productivity influences contemporary levels of democracy, income inequality, and human capital.

Keywords: Colonization; Duration; Agriculture; Productivity; Crop Yield; Columbian Exchange; Food; Development

JEL Classification: N00; O10; O57

Suggested Citation

Ang, James and Fredriksson, Per G. and Gupta, Satyendra Kumar, Agricultural Suitability and Colonization Choices (April 11, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3187388 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3187388

James Ang

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) - Division of Economics ( email )

HSS 04-53, 14 Nanyang Drive
Singapore, 639798
Singapore

Per G. Fredriksson

University of Louisville - College of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

Louisville, KY 40292
United States

Institute for Corruption Studies

Stevenson Hall 425
Normal, IL 61790-4200
United States

Satyendra Kumar Gupta (Contact Author)

Jindal School of Goverment and Public Policy, JIndal Global University ( email )

Sonipat
Sonipat
Haryana, 124 001
India

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