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Discussion Paper Details

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

Author(s): Nathan Nunn and Nancy Qian

Publication Date: July 2009

Keyword(s): agriculture, Columbian Exchange, Demography, Economic Development, Industrialization and potato

Programme Area(s): Development Economics

Abstract: 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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Bibliographic Reference

Nunn, N and Qian, N. 2009. 'The Potato's Contribution to Population and Urbanization: Evidence from an Historical Experiment'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research. https://cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=7364