Most widely held works by Nathan Nunn
Putting the lid on lobbying tariff structure and long-term growth when protection is for sale by Nathan Nunn ( Book )
3 editions published in 2006 in English and held by 44 libraries worldwide
"It has long been recognized that a country's tariffs are the endogenous outcome of a rent-seeking game whose equilibrium reflects national institutions. Thus, the structure of tariffs across industries provides insights into how institutions, as reflected in tariff policies, affect long-term growth. We start with the commonplace perception among politicians that protection of skill-intensive industries generates a growth-enhancing externality. Modifying the Grossman-Helpman protection for sale model to allow for this, we make two predictions. First, a country with good institutions will tolerate high average tariffs provided tariffs are biased towards skill-intensive industries. Second, there need not be any relationship between average tariffs and good institutions. Using data for 17 manufacturing industries in 59 countries over approximately 25 years, we find that average tariffs are uncorrelated with output growth and that the skill-bias of tariff structure is positively correlated with output growth. We interpret this to mean that countries grow faster if they are able and willing to put a lid on the rent-seeking behaviour of special interest lobby groups.We show that our results are not compatible with explanations that appeal to (1) externalities per se, (2) initial industrial structure that is skewed towards skill-intensive industries, or (3) the effects of broader institutions such as rule of law and control of corruption"--National Bureau of Economic Research web site.
The long-term effects of Africa's slave trades by Nathan Nunn ( Book )
4 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 41 libraries worldwide
Can part of Africa's current underdevelopment be explained by its slave trades? To explore this question, I use data from shipping records and historical documents reporting slave ethnicities to construct estimates of the number of slaves exported from each country during Africa's slave trades. I find a robust negative relationship between the number of slaves exported from a country and current economic performance. To better understand if the relationship is causal, I examine the historical evidence on selection into the slave trades, and use instrumental variables. Together the evidence suggests that the slave trades have had an adverse effect on economic development.
Fertility and the Plough by Alberto Alesina ( Book )
8 editions published in 2011 in English and German and held by 37 libraries worldwide
The current study finds that societies which historically engaged in plough agriculture today have lower fertility. We argue, and provide ethnographic evidence, that the finding is explained by the fact that with plough agriculture, children, like women, are relatively less useful in the field. The plough requires strength and eliminates the need for weeding, a task particularly suitable for women and children. This in turn generates a preference for fewer children, lowering fertility.
On the origins of gender roles women and the plough by Alberto Alesina ( Book )
7 editions published in 2011 in English and held by 34 libraries worldwide
This paper seeks to better understand the historical origins of current differences in norms and beliefs about the appropriate role of women in society. We test the hypothesis that traditional agricultural practices influenced the historical gender division of labor and the evolution and persistence of gender norms. We find that, consistent with existing hypotheses, the descendants of societies that traditionally practiced plough agriculture, today have lower rates of female participation in the workplace, in politics, and in entrepreneurial activities, as well as a greater prevalence of attitudes favoring gender inequality. We identify the causal impact of traditional plough use by exploiting variation in the historical geo-climatic suitability of the environment for growing crops that differentially benefited from the adoption of the plough. Our IV estimates, based on this variation, support the findings from OLS. To isolate the importance of cultural transmission as a mechanism, we examine female labor force participation of second-generation immigrants living within the US.
Ruggedness the blessing of bad geography in Africa by Nathan Nunn ( Book )
7 editions published between 2007 and 2009 in English and held by 30 libraries worldwide
There is controversy about whether geography matters mainly because of its contemporaneous impact on economic outcomes or because of its interaction with historical events. Looking at terrain ruggedness, we are able to estimate the importance of these two channels. Because rugged terrain hinders trade and most productive activities, it has a negative direct effect on income. However, in Africa rugged terrain afforded protection to those being raided during the slave trades. Since the slave trades retarded subsequent economic development, in Africa ruggedness has also had a historical indirect positive effect on income. Studying all countries worldwide, we find that both effects are significant statistically and that for Africa the indirect positive effect dominates the direct negative effect. Looking within Africa, we also provide evidence that the indirect effect operates through the slave trades.
The potato's contribution to population and urbanization evidence from an historical experiment by Nathan Nunn ( Book )
6 editions published in 2009 in English and held by 28 libraries worldwide
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.
The slave trade and the origins of mistrust in Africa by Nathan Nunn ( Book )
4 editions published in 2009 in English and held by 24 libraries worldwide
We investigate the historical origins of mistrust within Africa. Combining contemporary household survey data with historic data on slave shipments, we show that individuals whose ancestors were heavily raided during the slave trade today exhibit less trust in neighbors, relatives, and their local government. We confirm that the relationship is causal by using the historic distance from the coast of a respondent's ancestors as an instrument for the intensity of the slave trade, while controlling for the individual's current distance from the coast. We undertake a number of falsification tests, all of which suggest that the necessary exclusion restriction is satisfied. Exploiting variation among individuals who live in locations different from their ancestors, we show that most of the impact of the slave trade works through factors that are internal to the individual, such as cultural norms, beliefs, and values.
The importance of history for economic development by Nathan Nunn ( Book )
4 editions published in 2009 in English and held by 23 libraries worldwide
This article provides a survey of a growing body of empirical evidence that points towards the important long-term effects that historic events can have on current economic development. The most recent studies, using micro-level data and more sophisticated identification techniques, have moved beyond testing whether history matters, and attempt to identify exactly why history matters. The most commonly examined channels include: institutions, culture, knowledge and technology, and movements between multiple equilibria. The article concludes with a discussion of the questions that remain and the direct of current research in the literature.
The determinants of food aid provisions to Africa and the developing world by Nathan Nunn ( Book )
2 editions published in 2010 in English and held by 19 libraries worldwide
We examine the supply-side and demand-side determinants of global bilateral food aid shipments between 1971 and 2008. First, we find that domestic food production in developing countries is negatively correlated with subsequent food aid receipts, suggesting that food aid receipt is partly driven by local food shortages. Interestingly, food aid from some of the largest donors is the least responsive to production shocks in recipient countries. Second, we show that U.S. food aid is partly driven by domestic production surpluses, whereas former colonial ties are an important determinant for European countries. Third, amongst recipients, former colonial ties are especially important for African countries. Finally, aid flows to countries with former colonial ties are less responsive to recipient production, especially for African countries.
Domestic institutions, international trade and economic development by Nathan Nunn ( Book )
1 edition published in 2005 in English and held by 2 libraries worldwide
In this thesis, I study the relationship between countries' domestic institutions and international trade. Chapters 1 and 2 consider the effect that domestic institutions have on trade. In Chapter 1, I develop a model that illustrates how a country's ability to enforce written contracts can affect comparative advantage. I test the model and find that countries with better contracting environments tend to specialize production in contract-intense goods. In Chapter 2, I analyze how the pervasiveness of rent-seeking behavior in a country is reflected in the country's tariff policy. Chapters 3 to 5 consider the effect that increased openness to trade can have on domestic institutions. The three chapters study the opening of sub-Saharan Africa to trade, which began around 1450 AD. In Chapter 3, I provide a model that explains how extraction during the slave trade and colonial rule resulted in a permanent increase in rent-seeking behavior and a permanent decrease in the security of private property, both of which have helped foster Africa's current underdevelopment. In Chapter 4, I turn to the data and test for a link between the number of slaves exported from each country in Africa and subsequent institutional and economic development. I find that countries that exported large numbers of slaves during the slave trades are poorer today and exhibit slower rates of economic growth. The available evidence suggests that the importance of the slave trade for contemporary development is a result of its detrimental impact on the formation of domestic institutions, such as the security of private property, the quality of the judicial system, and the overall rule of law. In Chapter 5, I describe how I construct my estimates of the number of slaves taken from each country in Africa.
On the origin of gender roles women and the plough by Alberto Alesina ( Book )
1 edition published in 2011 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
Slavery, institutional development, and long-run growth in Africa, 1400-2000 by Nathan Nunn ( Book )
1 edition published in 2004 in English and held by 1 library worldwide
Africa Agriculture--Social aspects Developing countries Eastern Hemisphere Economic development Economic development--Econometric models Economic geography Economic history Economics Family size--Economic aspects Fertility, Human--Economic aspects Food relief--Econometric models Geography--Economic aspects History Population Potatoes--Economic aspects Potatoes--Social aspects Sex role Slave trade Slave trade--Social aspects Suspicion Trust United States Urbanization Women--Employment--Social aspects Women in agriculture