Economic History Papers

First posted 6 March 2017; last revised 10 April 2017

This is a companion to my Economic History Books page. This reference page collects surveys, articles, and blogs — basically, linkable things — which give a good overview of academic research on general-interest topics in global economic history and comparative historical development. (Plus some random things which strike my fancy.) But inevitably the page reflects my interests.

Although I’ve listed some classics, this page isn’t about the oldies. Research moves on and I list stuff which I consider empirically current.

As usual, suggestions are welcome. Alerts to broken or inaccessible links are also welcome. (Many links are ungated. There will be alternatives to gated links later.)

Note: This is a work in progress, it’s still very disorganised, and things are still being added or deleted. {In particular, sections still missing include the transition from communism, post-war Western Europe, post-war Japan, etc.}


The British Industrial Revolution

The current major views

  • Kelly, Mokyr, & Ó Gráda (2014), “Precocious Albion: A New Interpretation of the British Industrial Revolution” {the human capital perspective}
  • Mokyr (2005), “The intellectual origins of modern economic growth”
  • Allen (2015), “The high wage economy and the industrial revolution: a restatement” [ungated]
  • Allen (2011), “Why the industrial revolution was British: commerce, induced invention, and the scientific revolution”; also see his VoxEU column
  • Crafts (2010), “Explaining the first Industrial Revolution: Two Views”
  • Ó Gráda (2016), “Did Science Cause the Industrial Revolution?” [ungated]
  • Clark (2014) “The Industrial Revolution: A Cliometric Perspective” (from Handbook of Economic Growth, Volume 2)
  • Clark (2001), “The Secret History of the Industrial Revolution”
  • Engerman & O’Brien (2004), “The industrial revolution in global perspective”
  • O’Brien (2010), “Ten Years of Debate on the Origins of the Great Divergence”
  • O’Brien (2006), “Provincializing the First Industrial Revolution”


  • Mokyr (2005), “Long-Term Economic Growth and the History of Technology” (from Handbook of Economic Growth) {ungated}
  • Bruland (2004), “Industrialisation and technological change”
  • Crafts & Harley (1992), “Output growth and the British Industrial Revolution: A Restatement of the Crafts-Harley view”
  • Berg & Hudson (1992), “Rehabilitating the industrial revolution” {ungated}
  • Temin (1997) “Two views of the British Industrial Revolution”
  • Wrigley (2013), “Energy and the English Industrial Revolution”

Older surveys still worth reading

  • Mokyr (1998), “The Editor’s Introduction: The New Economic History and the Industrial Revolution” (also see Kevin Bryan’s post on this)
  • Inikori (2000) “The English Economy in the Longue Durée, 1086–1850”
  • Inikori (2000) “A Historiography of the First Industrial Revolution”
  • McCloskey (1994), “The Industrial Revolution 1780-1860: A Survey”
  • McCloskey (1981), “The Industrial Revolution 1780-1860: A Survey”

Preindustrial England

  • Campbell (2010), “Nature as historical protagonist: environment and society in pre-industrial England”
  • Allen (2008) “The Nitrogen Hypothesis and the English Agricultural Revolution: A Biological Analysis”
  • Stephenson (2016), “How (much) were British workers paid ? Evidence beyond wage rates”
  • Clark & Cummins (2009), “Urbanization, Mortality, and Fertility in Malthusian England”
  • Allen (2008), review of Clark’s A Farewell to Alms { imo the best parts are the critique of Clark’s neo-Malthusianism and view of institutions }
  • Clark & Hamilton (2006), “Survival of the Richest: The Malthusian Mechanism in Pre-Industrial England”
  • Galofre-Vila et al. (2017), “Heights across England in the last 2000 years”


  • Allen (2009), “Engels’ pause: Technical change, capital accumulation, and inequality in the British industrial revolution” {I might also list Clark’s opposing view, but I think Allen really clinches the case with this paper}
  • Gallardo (2016), “British well-being 1780-1850: Measuring the impact of industrialisation on wages, health, inequality, and working time”
  • Humphries (2012), “Childhood and child labour in the British industrial revolution”
  • Mokyr (1977), “Demand vs. Supply in the Industrial Revolution”
  • Bruland & Smith (2013), “Assessing the role of steam power in the first industrial revolution: The early work of Nick von Tunzelmann”
  • Howes (2016), “The Improving Mentality: Innovation during the British Industrial Revolution, 1651-1851”
  • Clark, O’Rourke, & Taylor (2014), “The growing dependence of Britain on trade during the Industrial Revolution”

Open Fields & Enclosures

  • Allen (2001), “Community and Market in England: Open Fields and Enclosures Revisited”
  • Clark (1998), “Commons Sense: Common Property Rights, Efficiency, and Institutional Change”
  • McCloskey (1995), “Allen’s Enclosure and the Yeoman: the View from Tory Fundamentalism”


Europe in the longue durée…

  • Mokyr & Voth (2010), “Understanding growth in Europe, 1700–1870: theory and evidence”
  • Broadberry & Fouquet (2015), “Seven Centuries of European Economic Growth and Decline”. Also see Nuno Palma’s blog on this.
  • Broadberry (2013), “Accounting for the great divergence” (shorter version)
  • Allen (2000), “Economic structure and agricultural productivity in Europe, 1300-1800”
  • Voigtländer & Voth (2013), “Gifts of Mars: Warfare and Europe’s Early Rise to Riches”
  • Hoffman (2012), “Why Was It Europeans Who Conquered the World?”
  • Koyama (2016), “The long transition from a natural state to a liberal economic order”
  • Johnson & Koyama (2013), “Legal centralization and the birth of the secular state”
  • Stasavage (2016), “Representation and Consent: Why They Arose in Europe and Not Elsewhere”
  • Bosker, Buringh, & van Zanden (2012), “The rise and decline of European parliaments, 1188–1789” [ungated]
  • Blaydes & Paik (2016), “The Impact of Holy Land Crusades on State Formation: War Mobilization, Trade Integration, and Political Development in Medieval Europe”
  • Koepke & Baten (2005), “The biological standard of living in Europe during the last two millennia”
  • Bosker, Buringh, & van Zanden (2013), “From Baghdad to London: Unravelling Urban Development in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, 800-1800”
  • Becker, Pfaff & Rubin (2016), “Causes and Consequences of the Protestant Reformation”
  • Iyigun (2008), “Luther & Suleyman”
  • Ogilvie (2014), “The Economics of Guilds”
  • Bateman (2011), “The evolution of markets in early modern Europe, 1350–1800: a study of wheat prices”
  • Kelly & Ó Gráda (2014), “The Waning of the Little Ice Age: Climate Change in Early Modern Europe”
  • Oster (2004), “Witchcraft, Weather and Economic Growth in Renaissance Europe”
  • Hajnal (1982), “Two kinds of pre-industrial household formation system”
  • Dennison & Ogilvie (2014), “Does the European Marriage Pattern Explain Economic Growth?”
  • O’Brien (2000), “Mercantilism and Imperialism in the Rise and Decline of the Dutch and British Economies 1585-1815”
  • Irwin (1992), “Strategic Trade Policy and Mercantilist Trade Rivalries”
  • Ridolfi (2016), “The French economy in the longue durée. A study on real wages, working days and economic performance from Louis IX to the Revolution (1250-1789)”
  • Johnson (2006), “Banking on the King: The Evolution of the Royal Revenue Farms in Old Regime France” {ungated}
  • Daudin (2010), “Domestic Trade and Market Size in Late-Eighteenth-Century France
  • Sharp & Weisdorf (2011), “French revolution or industrial revolution? A note on the contrasting experiences of England and France up to 1800”
  • Grantham (1989), “Agricultural Supply during the Industrial Revolution. French Evidence and European Implications”
  • {hoffman view prerevolutionary french agro}
  • Alvarez-Nogal & Prados de la Escosura (2013), “The rise and fall of Spain (1270–1850)”
  • “Agriculture in European Little Divergence: The Case of Spain” (blog)
  • Drehlichman (2005), “The curse of Moctezuma: American silver and the Dutch disease”
  • van Zanden & van Leeuwen (2012), “Persistent but not consistent: The growth of national income in Holland 1347–1807”
  • Malanima (2011), “The Long Decline of a Leading Economy: GDP in Central and Northern Italy, 1300-1913”
  • Palma & Reis (2016), “From Convergence to Divergence: Portuguese Demography and Economic Growth, 1500-1850” (also see Palma’s blog at the EHS Long Run)


Global economic history topics

  • Bryan (2015), “On the Economics of the Neolithic Revolution”
  • Weisdorf (2005), “From Foraging To Farming: Explaining The Neolithic Revolution”
  • Pomeranz (2011), “How Big Should Historians Think? A Review Essay on Why the West Rules—For Now by Ian Morris”
  • Boix & Rosenbluth (2014), “Bones of Contention: The Political Economy of Height Inequality” [ungated]
  • Vollrath (2011), “The agricultural basis of comparative development” {ungated}
  • Goldstone (2002), “Efflorescences and Economic Growth in World History: Rethinking the ‘Rise of the West’ and the Industrial Revolution”
  • Mokyr (1994), “Cardwell’s Law and the political economy of technological progress”
  • Clark (2009), review of Angus Maddison’s Contours of the World Economy, 1–2030 AD {ungated}
  • Findlay & Lundahl (2006), “Population, Precious Metals, and Prices from the Black Death to the Price Revolution” (chapter in this book)
  • Findlay & Lundahl (2002), “The First Globalization Episode: The Creation of the Mongol Empire, or the Economics of Chingghis Khan” (chapter in this book)
  • de Vries (2011), “Industrious Peasants in East and West: Markets, Technology, and Family Structure in Japanese and Western European Agriculture”
  • Koyama (2012), “The transformation of labor supply in the pre-industrial world”
  • Federico (2004), “The Growth of  World Agricultural Production, 1800–1938”
  • Harvey et al. (2010), “The Prebisch-Singer Hypothesis: Four Centuries of Evidence”
  • O’Rourke & Willimson (2002), “When did globalisation begin?”
  • Turchin (2009), “Long-Term Population Cycles in Human Societies”
  • Lee (2003), “The Demographic Transition: Three Centuries of Fundamental Change”
  • Ó Gráda (2007), “Making Famine History” [ungated]
  • Steckel (2008), “Biological Measures of the Standard of Living”
  • Baten & Blum (2012), “Growing Tall but Unequal: New Findings and New Background Evidence on Anthropometric Welfare in 156 Countries, 1810–1989”
  • A’Hearn et al. (2009). “Quantifying quantitative literacy: Age heaping and the history of human capital” {ungated} [up to ~1800]
  • Crayen & Baten (2010), “Global Trends in Numeracy 1820-1949 and its Implications for Long-Run Growth” {ungated}
  • Lindert, Milanovic & Williamson (2010), “Pre-Industrial Income Inequality”
  • Milanovic (2016), “Towards an explanation of inequality in pre-modern societies:the
  • Milanovic (2010), “A short history of global inequality: The past two centuries”
  • Milanovic (2013), “Global Income Inequality in Numbers: in History and Now: the role of colonies and high population density”
  • Turchin et al. (2006), “East-West Orientation of Historical Empires and Modern States”
  • Turchin (2009), “A theory for formation of large empires”
  • Marquez (2012), “The Great Norm Shift and the Triumph of Universal Suffrage: A Very Short Quantitative History of Political Regimes, Part 1.825”
  • Jerven (2012), “An unlevel playing field: national income estimates and reciprocal comparison in global economic history”


The really long 19th century (1820-1945)

  • Daudin, Morys, & O’Rourke (2008), “Globalization, 1870-1914” (a chapter from CEHME v2)
  • Allen (2012), “Technology and the great divergence: Global economic development since 1820”
  • O’Rourke & Williamson (2017), “The Spread of Manufacturing to the Poor Periphery 1870–2007”, a fantastic VoxEU summary of their book
  • Clark (1987), “Why Isn’t the Whole World Developed? Lessons from the Cotton Mills”
  • Bairoch (1975), “International Industrialization Levels from 1750 to 1980”
  • Sugihara (2007), “Labour-intensive industrialisation in Global History”
  • Hadass & Williamson (2003), “Terms-of-Trade Shocks and Economic Performance, 1870–1940: Prebisch and Singer Revisited”
  • Williamson (2006), “Globalization, de-industrialization and underdevelopment in the third world before the modern era”
  • Williamson (2008), “Globalization and the Great Divergence: terms of trade booms, volatility and the poor periphery, 1782-1913”
  • Chaudhary et al. (2012), “Big BRICs, weak foundations: The beginning of public elementary education in Brazil, Russia, India, and China” (shorter version)
  • Saxonhouse & Wright (2010), “National Leadership and Competing Technological Paradigms: The Globalization of Cotton Spinning, 1878–1933”
  • Chandler (1984), “The Emergence of Managerial Capitalism”
  • O’Rourke (2006), “The worldwide economic impact of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, 1793–1815”
  • Beckert (2004), “Emancipation and Empire: Reconstructing the Worldwide Web of Cotton Production in the Age of the American Civil War”

Europe in the long 19th century

  • Harley (2013), “British and European industrialisation”
  • O’Rourke (2000), “British trade policy in the 19th century: a review article”
  • Nye (1991), “The Myth of Free-Trade Britain and Fortress France: Tariffs and Trade in the Nineteenth Century”
  • Leunig (2001), “New Answers to Old Questions: Explaining the Slow Adoption of Ring Spinning in Lancashire, 1880-1913” {contains the best summary of the long-running debate on this topic}
  • Prados de la Escosura (2016), “Spain’s Historical National Accounts: Expenditure and Output, 1850-2015” (also see his columns at VoxEU and Nada es gratis)
  • Rosés (2003), “Why Isn’t the Whole of Spain Industrialized? New Economic Geography and Early Industrialization, 1797-1910”
  • Beltrán Tapia (2016), “Common Lands & Economic Development in Spain”
  • Federico & Toniolo (1991), overview of Italian industrialisation in the 19th century from Sylla & Toniolo
  • Felice (2011), “Regional value added in Italy, 1891–2001, and the foundation of a long-term picture”
  • Ó Gráda (2004), “Ireland’s Great Famine: An Overview” (chapter in this book)
  • Vanhaute, Paping & Ó Gráda (2006), “The European subsistence crisis of 1845-1850: a comparative perspective”
  • Hatton (2014), “How have Europeans grown so tall?”


  • Lévy-Leboyer & Lescure (1991), overview of French industrialisation in the 19th century from Sylla & Toniolo
  • Crouzet (2003), “The Historiography of French Economic Growth in the Nineteenth Century”
  • Grantham (1997), “The French cliometric revolution: A survey of cliometric contributions to French economic history”.
  • Nye (2000), “The Importance of Being Late: French Economic History, Cliometrics, and the New Institutional Economics”
  • Nye (1987), “Firm Size and Industrial Backwardness: A New Look at the French Industrialization Debate”
  • Becuwe, Blancheton, & Meissner (2015), “Stages of Diversification: France, 1836-1938”


  • Tilly (2001), “German economic history and Cliometrics: A selective survey of recent tendencies”
  • Tilly (1991), overview of German industrialisation in the 19th century from Sylla & Toniolo
  • Pfister et al. (2012), “Real Wages and the Origins of Modern Economic Growth in Germany, 16th to 19th Centuries”
  • Ogilvie (1996), “The Beginnings of Industrialization”
  • Becker, Hornung & Woessmann (2010), “Being the educational world leader helped Prussia catch up in the Industrial Revolution”
  • Ewart (2006), “The biological standard of living on the decline: Episodes from Germany during early industrialisation”
  • Broadberry & Burhop (2007), “Comparative Productivity in British and German Manufacturing Before World War II”; response by Ritschl (2008); and response by Broadberry & Burhop (2008)
  • Lee (1988), “Economic Development and the State in Nineteenth-Century Germany”


The political economy of imperialism

  • O’Rourke, Prados de la Escosura, & Daudin (2008), “Trade and Empire, 1700-1870” (a chapter from CEHME v1)
  • Harley (2004), “Trade: discovery, mercantilism and technology”
  • Eltis & Engerman (2000), “The Importance of Slavery and the Slave Trade to Industrializing Britain”
  • Daudin (2004), “The Profitability of Slave and Long-Distance Trading in Context: The Case of Eighteenth-Century France”
  • O’Brien (1982), “European Economic Development: The Contribution of the Periphery”
  • O’Brien & L. Prados de la Escosura (1986), “The costs and benefits for Europeans of their empires overseas”
  • Offer (1993), “The British empire, 1870-1914: a waste of money?”
  • Marseille (1985), “The phases of French colonial imperialism: towards a new periodization”
  • Clarence-Smith (1979), “The myth of uneconomic imperialism: the Portuguese in Angola, 1836-1926”


US economic history

  • Gallman (2000), “Economic Growth and Structural Change in the Long Nineteenth Century” (chapter from CEHUSAv2)
  • Allen (2014) “American Exceptionalism as a Problem in Global History”
  • Olmstead & Rhode (1993), “Induced Innovation in American Agiculture: A Reconsideration”
  • Wright (1990), “The origins of American industrial success, 1879–1940”
  • Irwin (2003), “Explaining America’s Surge in Manufactured Exports, 1880-1913”
  • Atack (1986), “Firm Size and Industrial Structure in the United States During the Nineteenth Century”
  • Lindert & Williamson (2013), “American Incomes before and after the Revolution” [ungated]
  • Wallis (2007) ,”American Government and the Promotion of Economic Development In the National Era, 1790 to 1860″ [ungated]
  • Meyer, “The Roots of American Industrialization, 1790-1860” ( article)
  • Lamoreaux & Wallis (2015), “States, Not Nation: The Sources of Political and Economic Development in the Early United States “
  • Smith (1980), “A Malthusian-Frontier Interpretation of United States Demographic History Before c. 1815”
  • Lamoreaux (2003), “Rethinking the Transition to Capitalism in the Early American Northeast”
  • Temin (1991), “Free Land and Federalism: A Synoptic View of American Economic History”
  • Komlos (2012), “A Three-Decade History of the Antebellum Puzzle: Explaining the Shrinking of the U.S. Population at the Onset of Modern Economic Growth”
  • Naidu (2016), “What would the United States have looked like had microbes and strength of arms not been on the Plymouth Protestants’ side?”
  • Goldin & Lewis (1975), “The Economic Cost of the American Civil War: Estimates and Implications”
  • Ransom, The Economics of the Civil War ( article)
  • Abramitsky & Boustan (2017), “Immigration in American Economic History”
  • Field (2003), “The Most Technologically Progressive Decade of the Century” [i.e., the 1930s….]
  • Lindert & Williamson (2016), “Unequal gains: American growth and inequality since 1700”
  • Bleakley & Ferrie (2016), “Random Wealth in Antebellum Georgia and Human Capital Across Generations”
  • Lamoreaux, “Beyond the Old and the New: Economic History in the United States”, a chapter published in Boldizzoni & Hudson.
  • Rosenthal (2016), “Seeking a Quantitative Middle Ground: Reflections on Methods and Opportunities in Economic History”
  • Davis’s review of Fogel’s Railroads & American Economic Growth; and Bleakley’s article about his own revision of Fogel
  • Hanes & Rhode (2012), “Harvests and Financial Crises in Gold-Standard America”
  • Rosenbloom & Sundstrom (2009), “Labor market regimes in US history”
  • DeLong (1991), “Did J. P. Morgan’s Men Add Value? An Economist’s Perspective on Financial Capitalism”
  • Devine (1983), “From Shafts to Wires: Historical Perspective on Electrification”
  • Wright (1981), “Cheap Labor and Southern Textiles, 1880-1930”
  • Gordon (2014), “The Demise of U.S. Economic Growth: Restatement, Rebuttal, and Reflections”
  • DeLong (1996), “America’s Peacetime Inflation: The 1970s “
  • antebellum textile debates }
  • { 19th century labour scarcity debate ??? }
  • { postbellum southern industrialisation }

Slavery & The Historians of Capitalism


Institutions: Dominant Views

  • North, Wallis, & Weingast (2006), “A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History”
  • Engerman & Sokoloff (2000), “Institutions, Factor Endowments, and Paths of Development in the New World”
  • Acemoglu, Johnson & Robinson (2005), “Institutions as a Fundamental Cause of Long-Run Growth”

Institutions: Sceptical Views

  • Ogilvie & Carus (2014), “Institutions & Economic Growth in Historical Perspective”
  • Ogilvie (2007), “‘Whatever Is, Is Right’? Economic Institutions in Pre-Industrial Europe”
  • Iyigun (2012), “Are We There Yet? Time for Checks and Balances on New Institutionalism”
  • Irigoin & Grafe (2012), “Bounded Leviathan: or why North and Weingast are only right on the right half”
  • Vollrath (2014) “The Skeptics’ Guide to Institutions” (4 parts)
  • Glaeser et al. (2004), “Do Institutions Cause Growth?”
  • Clark (2007), review of Avner Greif’s Institutions & the Path to the Modern Economy

Effective states

  • Johnson & Koyama (2016), “States and economic growth: Capacity and constraints”
  • Dincecco (2015), “The Rise of Effective States in Europe”
  • Bardhan (2016), “State and Development: The Need for a Reappraisal of the Current Literature”

Informal Institutions

  • Alesina & Giuliano (2015), “Culture & Institutions”
  • Greif (1994), “Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies”
  • Greif (2000), “The fundamental problem of exchange: A research agenda in Historical Institutional Analysis”
  • Greif (2006a), “Family Structure, Institutions, and Growth: The Origins and Implications of Western Corporations”
  • Greif (2006b), “The Birth of Impersonal Exchange: The Community Responsibility System and Impartial Justice”
  • Greif (2008), “Coercion and Exchange: How did Markets Evolve?”
  • Schultz (2016), “The Churches’ Bans on Consanguineous Marriages, Kin-Networks and Democracy”
  • Greif & Mokyr (2017), “Cognitive rules, institutions, and economic growth”


Culture, Norms & Endogenous Preferences

  • Nunn (2012), “Culture and the Historical Process”
  • Guiso, Sapienza, & Zingales (2006), “Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?”
  • Alesina & Giuliano (2014), “Family Ties” (from Handbook of Economic Growth)
  • Alesina, Giuliano, & Nunn (2013), “On the Origins of Gender Roles: Women and the Plough”
  • Iyer (2016), “The New Economics of Religion”
  • Aldashev & Platteau (2014), “Religion, Culture, and Development”
  • Bowles & Polanía-Reyes (2012), “Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: Substitutes or Complements?”
  • Fehr & Fischbacher (2002), “Why Social Preferences Matter: The Impact of Non-Selfish Motives on Competition, Cooperation, & Incentives”
  • Jakiela (2014), “Using Economic Experiments to Measure Informal Institutions” (chapter from Galiani & Sened)
  • Oosterbeek et al. (2004), “Cultural Differences in Ultimatum Game Experiments: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis”
  • Johnson & Mislin (2011), “Trust Games: A Meta-Analysis”
  • Bigoni et al. (2016), “Amoral Familism, Social Capital, or Trust? The Behavioural Foundations of the Italian North-South Divide”
  • Alesina & Fuchs (2007), “Good-Bye Lenin (or Not?): The Effect of Communism on People’s Preferences”

Cultural Evolution

  • Henrich (2015), “Culture & Social Behavior”
  • Boyd, Richerson, & Henrich (2002), “Cultural Evolution of Human Cooperation”
  • Henrich (2004), “Cultural group selection, coevolutionary processes and large-scale cooperation”
  • Ostrom (2000), “Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms” {ungated}
  • Proto, Rustichini, & Sofianos (2014), “Higher Intelligence Groups Have Higher Cooperation Rates in the Repeated Prisoner’s Dilemma”
  • Richerson & Henrich (2012), “Tribal Social Instincts and the Cultural Evolution of Institutions to Solve Collective Action Problems”
  • Newson & Richerson (2009), “Why Do People Become Modern? A Darwinian Explanation”
  • Henrich et al. (2001) “In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies”
  • Henrich, Heine, & Norenzayan (2010), “The weirdest people in the world?”
  • Henrich, Boyd, & Richerson (2012), “The puzzle of monogamous marriage”
  • Nowak et al. (2015), “The Evolutionary Basis of Honor Cultures”


The impact of colonialism on colonies

  • Pepinsky (2016), “The New Political Economy of Colonialism”
  • Acemoglu & Robinson (2017), “The economic impact of colonialism”
  • Heldring & Robinson (2012), “Colonialism and Economic Development in Africa” (also see their shorter version)
  • Michalopoulos & Papaioannou (2017), 2nd volume of the PDF e-booklet “The Long Economic and Political Shadow of History”, mostly covers the impact of colonialism in Africa and Asia.

More unusual views:

  • Frankema (2009), “The colonial roots of land inequality: geography, factor endowments, or institutions?”
  • Easterly & Levine (2016), “The European origins of economic development”; also see their VoxEU column
  • Fails & Krieckhaus (2010), “Colonialism, Property Rights and the Modern World Income Distribution”
  • Booth & Deng {2016}, “Japanese colonialism in comparative perspective”
  • Frankema (2010), “Raising revenue in the British empire, 1870–1940: how ‘extractive’ were colonial taxes?”

Two famous papers which appear on most syllabi on the impact of colonialism are:

  • Nunn (2008), “The Long-Term Effects of Africa’s Slave Trades”; also see Nunn’s recent VoxEU column surveying the now-sizeable literature built on top of his 2008 paper
  • Banerjee & Iyer (2005), “History, Institutions, and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India”

And dissenting comment papers which don’t get as much attention:

  • Bottero & Wallace (working paper), “Is There a Long-Term Effect of Africa’s Slave Trades?”
  • Iversen, Palmer-Jones & Sen (2013), “On the Colonial Origins of Agricultural Development in India: A Reexamination of Banerjee and Iyer, ‘History, Institutions and Economic Performance'”


Trade & Development

  • Harrison & Rodríguez-Clare (2010), “Trade, Foreign Investment, and Industrial Policy for Developing Countries” {from Handbook of Development Economics, Vol 5 }
  • Meissner (2014), “Growth from Globalization? A View from the Very Long Run”
  • Crafts & Venables (2003), “Globalization in History. A Geographical Perspective”
  • Rodrik (2007), “Industrial development: Some stylized facts and policy directions”
  • Aghion et al. (2015), “Industrial Policy and Competition” {ungated}
  • Rodrik (2005), “Trade & Industrial Policy Reform” {chapter from Handbook of Development Economics vol 3B}
  • Rodríguez & Rodrik (2000), “Trade Policy and Economic Growth: A Skeptic’s Guide to the Cross-National Evidence”
  • Robinson (2010), “Industrial Policy and Development: A Political Economy Perspective”
  • Baldwin (2014), “Trade and Industrialization after Globalization’s Second Unbundling: How Building and Joining a Supply Chain Are Different and Why It Matters”
  • Bruton (1998), “A Reconsideration of Import Substitution”
  • Krueger (1997), “Trade Policy and Economic Development: How We Learn”
  • Taylor (1998), “On the Costs of Inward-Looking Development: Price Distortions, Growth, and Divergence in Latin America”
  • DeLong (1995), “Trade Policy and America’s Standard of Living: An Historical Perspective” (published in Collins)
  • Irwin (2001), “Tariffs & Growth in Late Nineteenth Century America”
  • Irwin (2004), review of Ha Joon Chang’s Kicking Away the Ladder
  • Easterly (2009), review of Ha Joon Chang’s Bad Samaritans
  • Baldwin (1969)


Growth & Development

  • Gollin (2014), “The Lewis Model: A 60-Year Retrospective”
  • Banerjee & Duflo (2005), “Growth Theory through the Lens of Development Economics”
  • Kraay & McKenzie (2014), “Do Poverty Traps Exist? Assessing the Evidence”
  • Toye & Toye (2003), “The Origins and Interpretation of the Prebisch-Singer Thesis”
  • Szirmai (2011), “Industrialisation as an engine of growth in developing countries, 1950–2005”
  • Fleitas (2016), comment on Timmer & de Vries, “Patterns of Structural Change in Developing Countries”
  • McMillan & Rodrik (2011), “Globalization, Structural Change, and Productivity Growth” (longer version)
  • Hausmann, Hwang & Rodrik (2007), “What You Export Matters”
  • Imbs & Wacziarg (2003), “Stages of Diversification”
  • Venables (2016), “Using Natural Resources for Development: Why Has It Proven So Difficult?”
  • Rodrik (2012), “Unconditional convergence in manufacturing” (shorter version)
  • Rodrik (2015), “Premature Deindustrialization” (shorter version)
  • Rodrik (1999), “Where did all the growth go? External Shocks, Social Conflict, and Growth Collapses”
  • Rodrik (1998), “Globalisation, Social Conflict, and Economic Growth”
  • Easterly (2002), “How Did Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Become Heavily Indebted? Reviewing Two Decades of Debt Relief”
  • Banerjee & Duflo (2007), “The Economic Lives of the Poor”
  • Besley & Ghatak (2010), “Property Rights and Economic Development”
  • Jayachandran (2015), “The Roots of Gender Inequality in Developing Countries”
  • Blaydes & Kayser (2011), “Counting Calories: Democracy and Distribution in the Developing World”
  • Currie & Vogl (2013), “Lasting effects of childhood health in developing countries” (shorter version)
  • Pritchett (2006), “Does Learning to Add up Add up? The Returns to Schooling in Aggregate Data” {ungated}
  • Glewwe & Kremer (2006), “Schools, Teachers, and Education Outcomes in Developing Countries” {ungated}
  • Hanushek & Woessmann (2012), “Schooling, educational achievement, and the Latin American growth puzzle”
  • Sandefur (2016), “Internationally Comparable Mathematics Scores for Fourteen African Countries”
  • Bloom & van Reenan (2010), “Why Do Management Practices Differ across Firms and Countries?”

Cross-country growth

  • Klenow & Rodríguez-Clare (2005), “Externalities & Growth” {from Handbook of Economic Growth, Volume 1A}
  • Easterly, Kremer, Pritchard & Summers (1993), “Good policy or good luck? Country growth performance and temporary shocks”
  • DeLong & Dowrick (2003), “Globalization and Convergence”
  • Crafts & O’Rourke (2014), “Twentieth Century Growth”
  • Easterly (2005), “National Policies and Economic Growth: A Reappraisal”
  • Easterly & Levine (2001), “It’s Not Factor Accumulation: Stylized Facts and Growth Models”
  • Pritchett (1997), “Divergence, Big Time”
  • Bosworth & Collins (2003), “Empirics of Growth: An Update”
  • Agenor (2016), “Caught in the Middle? The Economics of Middle-Income Traps”
  • Hsieh & Olken (2014), “The Missing ‘Missing Middle’ ” {about the size and distribution of firms in developing countries}
  • Márquez (2015), “The Mismeasure of Growth” {a visual representation of the gaps between various GDP datasets}

Agriculture & Structural Transformation

  • Stiglitz (1989), “Rational Peasants, Efficient Institutions, and a Theory of Rural Organization”
  • Gollin (2010), “Agricultural Productivity and Economic Growth”
  • Herrendorf et al. (2014), “Growth and Structural Transformation”
  • Gollin et al. (2016), “Two Blades of Grass: The Impact of the Green Revolution”
  • Gollin et al. (2014), “Agricultural Productivity Differences Across Countries”
  • Vollrath (2011), “The agricultural basis of comparative development”
  • {eberhardt & vollrath, crop type; ag tech ?}

Economic Growth

  • Jones (2015), “Facts of Economic Growth” {working paper}
  • Jones & Romer (2010), “The New Kaldor Facts: Ideas, Institutions, Population, and Human Capital”
  • Aghion, Akigit, & Howitt (2014), “What Do We Learn From Schumpeterian Growth Theory?”
  • Jones (2011), “Misallocation, Economic Growth, and Input-Output Economics” {working paper}



  • Gupta, Ma, & Roy (2016), “States and Development: Early Modern India, China, and the Great Divergence”
  • Broadberry & Gupta (2006), “The early modern great divergence: wages, prices and economic development in Europe and Asia, 1500–1801”
  • T. Greer on war and state formation in China, Japan, and Europe
  • Perkins & Tang (2015), “East Asian Industrial Pioneers: Japan, Korea and Taiwan” (a chapter in this book)
  • Bosworth & Collins (1996), “Economic Growth in East Asia: Accumulation versus Assimilation”
  • Rodrik (1995), “Getting Interventions Right: How South Korea and Taiwan grew rich”
  • Grabowski (2011), “East Asia, Land Reform and Economic Development”
  • Amsden (1991), “Diffusion of Development: The Late-Industrializing Model and Greater East Asia”
  • Lane (2017), “Manufacturing Revolutions: Industrial Policy and Networks in South Korea”
  • van Zanden (2003), “Rich and poor before the Industrial Revolution: a comparison between Java and the Netherlands at the beginning of the 19th century”
  • van der Eng (2010), “The sources of long-term economic growth in Indonesia, 1880–2008”
  • { more coming! }



Long run

  • Deng & O’Brien (2016), “China’s GDP Per Capita from the Han Dynasty to Communist Times”
  • Pomeranz (2008), “Chinese Development in Long-Run Perspective”
  • Brandt, Ma, & Rawski (2014), “From Divergence to Convergence: Reevaluating the History Behind China’s Economic Boom”
  • Deng (2000), “A Critical Survey of Recent Research in of Chinese Economic History.” EHR
  • Ko, Koyama, & Sng (2014), “Unified China and Divided Europe”
  • Bai & Kung (2011), “Climate Shocks and Sino-Nomadic Conflict”
  • Lee & Feng (1999), “Malthusian Models and Chinese Realities: The Chinese Demographic System 1700-2000”
  • Lee, Campbell, & Feng (2002), “Positive Check or Chinese Checks?”
  • Daniel Little on Mark Elvin’s “high level equilibrium trap” {if anyone has a PDF of the original Elvin article that’s been published in several books, I’d appreciate it}
  • Edwards (2013), “Redefining Industrial Revolution: Song China and England”
  • Wright (2007), “An Economic Cycle in Imperial China? Revisiting Robert Hartwell on Iron and Coal”

Early Modern

  • Ma (2004), “Growth, Institutions and Knowledge: A Review and Reflection on the Historiography of 18th-20th century China”
  • Deng (2015), “China’s Population Expansion and Its Causes during the Qing Period, 1644–1911”
  • Baten, Ma, Morgan & Wang (2010), “Evolution of living standards and human capital in China in the 18–20th centuries: Evidences from real wages, age-heaping, and anthropometrics”
  • Moise (1977), “Downward Social Mobility in Pre-Revolutionary China”

the Great Divergence

  • Pomeranz (2002), “Political economy and ecology on the eve of industrialization: Europe, China, and the global conjuncture” [ungated]
  • Brenner & Isett (2002), “England’s Divergence from China’s Yangzi Delta: Property Relations, Microeconomics, and Patterns of Development” [a critical analysis of Pomeranz’s The Great Divergence]
  • Huang (2002), “Development or Involution in Eighteenth-Century Britain and China? A Review of Kenneth Pomeranz’s ‘The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy‘”
  • Allen et al., “Wages, prices, and living standards in China, 1738–1925: in comparison with Europe, Japan, and India”
  • Allen, “Agricultural productivity and rural incomes in England and the Yangtze Delta, c.1620–c.1820”
  • Li & van Zanden (2012), “Before the Great Divergence? Comparing the Yangzi Delta and the Netherlands at the Beginning of the Nineteenth Century”, also see van Zanden’s VoxEU’s summary
  • Bernhofen, Eberhardt, Li & Morgan (2016), “Market disintegration as a pre-cursor to the Great Divergence”, which summarises their papers (1, 2)
  • Ma (2011), “Rock, scissors, paper: the problem of incentives and information in traditional Chinese state and the origin of Great Divergence”
  • Greif & Tabellini (2010), “Cultural and Institutional Bifurcation: China and Europe Compared”
  • Greif & Tabellini (2017), “The clan and the corporation: Sustaining cooperation in China and Europe”

Republican China

  • Ma (2008), “Economic Growth in the Lower Yangzi Region of China in 1911-1937: A Quantitative and Historical Analysis”
  • Horesh (2009), “The pendulum swings again: recent debates on China’s prewar economy”


  • Meng, Qian & Yared (2015), “The Institutional Causes of China’s Great Famine, 1959–1961”
  • Li & Yang (2005), “The Great Leap Forward: Anatomy of a Central Planning Disaster”
  • Yao (1999), “The Chinese Economic Miracle”
  • Xu (2011), “The Fundamental Institutions of China’s Reforms and Development”
  • Naughton (2017), “Is China Socialist?”



Long run

  • Bhattacharyya (2011), “Five Centuries of Economic Growth in India: the Institutions Perspective”
  • Bayly (1985), “State and Economy in India over Seven Hundred Years”
  • Habib (1969), “Potentialities of Capitalistic Development in the Economy of Mughal India”
  • Foa (2016), “Ancient Polities, Modern States” {re: the present-day regional variation in the persistence of the state capacity of pre-colonial Indian empires}

the Great Divergence

  • Clingingsmith & Williamson (2008), “Deindustrialization in 18th and 19th century India: Mughal decline, climate shocks and British industrial ascent”
  • Gupta (2009), “Competition and control in the market for textiles: The weavers and the East India Company” (chapter in How India Clothed the World)
  • Studer (2008), “India and the Great Divergence: Assessing the Efficiency of Grain Markets in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century India”
  • Broadberry, Custodis & Gupta (2014), “India and the great divergence: An Anglo-Indian comparison of GDP per capita, 1600–1871” { there is a simpler version of this in this book }

Colonial Period

  • Roy (2016), “The British Empire and the Economic Development of India (1858-1947)”
  • Mukherjee (2008), “The Return of the Colonial in Indian Economic History: The Last Phase of Colonialism in India” {probably the best of the many summary reiterations of the traditional nationalist-Marxist view of colonial rule, in the face of recent revisionism}
  • Roy (2016), “Were Indian Famines ‘Natural’ Or ‘Manmade’?”
  • Kuran & Singh (2013), “Economic Modernization in Late British India: Hindu-Muslim Differences”
  • Bogart & Chaudhary (2012), “Railways in Colonial India: An Economic Achievement?” {published as a chapter in this book}
  • Burgess & Donaldson (2010), “Can Openness Mitigate the Effects of Weather Shocks? Evidence from India’s Famine Era” [about railroads & famine]
  • Wolcott (1997), “Did Imperial Policies Doom the Indian Textile Industry?”
  • Lee (2015), “The Origins of Identity Politics: Caste in Colonial India”
  • Caruana-Galizia (2013), “Indian Regional Income Inequality: Estimates of Provincial GDP, 1875-1911”
  • Morris (1983), “Growth of Large-Scale Industry” (chapter from CEHIv2)
  • Brennan et al. (1997), “Towards an Anthropometric History of Indians under British Rule”
  • Chaudhary (2007), “An Economic History of Education in Colonial India”


  • Roy (2017), “The Origins of Import Substituting Industrialization in India”
  • Manish (2011), “Central Economic Planning and India’s Economic Performance, 1951–1965”
  • Broadberry & Gupta (2009), “The historical roots of India’s service-led development: A sectoral analysis of Anglo-Indian productivity differences, 1870–2000”; also see their VoxEU column
  • Kotwal, Ramaswami, & Wadhwa (2011). “Economic Liberalization and Indian Economic Growth: What’s the Evidence?”
  • Rodrik & Subramanian (2005), “From ‘Hindu Growth’ to Productivity Surge: The Mystery of the Indian Growth Transition”
  • Basu (2008), “The Enigma of India’s Arrival: A Review of Arvind Virmani’s Propelling India: From Socialist Stagnation to Global Power
  • Basu & Maertens (2007), “The pattern and causes of economic growth in India”
  • Kochhar et al. (2006), “India’s pattern of development: What happened, what follows?”
  • DeLong (2001), “India Since Independence: An Analytic Growth Narrative” (published in In Search of Prosperity: Analytic Narratives on Economic Growth)
  • Bosworth & Collins (2008), “Accounting for Growth: Comparing China and India”
  • Bosworth, Collins, & Virmani (2006), “Sources of Growth in the Indian Economy”
  • Bhaskar & Gupta (2007), “India’s missing girls: biology, customs, and economic development”
  • Felipe, Kumar, & Abdon (2013), “Exports, capabilities, and industrial policy in India”
  • Aghion et al. (2008), “The Unequal Effects of Liberalization: Evidence from Dismantling the License Raj in India”
  • { a readable factor misallocation article for India? }



  • Bassino et al. (2015), “Japan and the Great Divergence, 725-1874”; also see the VoxEU column
  • Morillo (1995), “Guns and Government: A Comparative Study of Europe and Japan”
  • Saito (2005), “Pre-modern economic growth revisited: Japan and the West”
  • Sugihara (2004), “The state and the industrious revolution in Tokugawa Japan”
  • Saito (2010), “An industrious revolution in an East Asian market economy? Tokugawa Japan and implications for the Great Divergence”
  • Koyama, Moriguchi, & Sng (2015), “Geopolitics and Asia’s Little Divergence: A Comparative Analysis of State Building in China and Japan after 1850”
  • Saxonhouse (1991), “Economic Growth and Trade Relations: Japanese Performance in Long-Term Perspective”
  • Tang (2016), “A tale of two SICs: Japanese and American industrialisation in historical perspective”
  • Nicholas (2011), “The origins of Japanese technological modernization”
  • Ma (2004), “Why Japan, Not China, Was the First to Develop in East Asia: Lessons from Sericulture, 1850–1937”
  • Braguinsky & Hounshell (2015), “Spinning Tales about Japanese Cotton Spinning: Saxonhouse (1974) and Lessons from New Data”
  • Tang (2011), “Technological leadership and late development: evidence from Meiji Japan, 1868–1912”
  • Jorgenson & Nomura (2007), “The Industry Origins of the U.S.-Japan Productivity Gap”
  • Fleitas (2016), comment on “Effects of Industrial Policy on Productivity: The case of import quota removal during postwar Japan”
  • { more coming! }



  • Gregory (1991), “The role of the state in promoting economic development: the Russian case and its general implications” {from Sylla & Toniolo}
  • Dennison (2006), “Did serfdom matter? Russian rural society, 1750–1860”
  • Lindert & Nafziger (2014), “Russian Inequality on the Eve of Revolution”
  • Dennison & Nafziger (2013), “Living Standards in Nineteenth-Century Russia”
  • Markevich (2014), “Economic Development of the Late Russian Empire in a Regional Perspective”
  • Nafziger (2016), “Decentralization, Fiscal Structure, and Local State Capacity in Late-Imperial Russia”
  • Markevich & Zhuravskaya (2017), “The Economic Effects of the Abolition of Serfdom: Evidence from the Russian Empire” (shorter version)

Soviet Union

  • Ofer (1987), “Soviet economic growth: 1928-1985”
  • Johnson & Temin (1993), “The Macroeconomics of NEP”
  • Gatrell & Harrison (1993), “The Russian and Soviet economies in two world wars: a comparative view”
  • Gregory & Harrison (2005), “Allocation under dictatorship: Research in Stalin’s archives”
  • Allen (2005) “A Reassessment of the Soviet Industrial Revolution”
  • Ricón, The Soviet Union series (it’s an on-going literature review of all things Soviet-related; especially recommended are his post on Soviet productive efficiency and his evaluation of the Allen view of the USSR.
  • Cheremukhin et al. (2013), “Was Stalin Necessary for Russia’s Economic Development?” {VoxEU}; also see comment by Felice at NEP-HIS blog
  • Rosefielde (2005), “Russia: An Abnormal Country”

Eastern Europe

  • Millward (1982), “An economic analysis of the organization of serfdom in Eastern Europe”
  • Baten & Szołtysek (2014), “A golden age before serfdom? The human capital of Central-Eastern and Eastern Europe in the 17th-19th centuries”
  • “National income and its distribution in preindustrial Poland in a global perspective” (blog)
  • van Leeuwen & Földvári (2013), “Capital Accumulation and Growth in Central Europe, 1920-2006”
  • Broadberry & Klein (2011), “When and why did eastern European economies begin to fail? Lessons from a Czechoslovak/UK productivity comparison, 1921–1991” {ungated}
  • Vonyo (2016), “War and socialism: why Eastern Europe fell behind between 1950 and 1989”
  • Ritschl (1996), “An exercise in futility: East German economic growth and decline, 1945–89” {in crafts & toniolo}
  • Vonyo (2010), “Socialist industrialisation or post-war reconstruction? Understanding Hungarian economic growth”


Latin America

  • Bértola & Rodríguez-Weber (2015), “Latin American Economic History: looking backwards for the future” (chapter from Boldizzoni & Hudson)
  • Nunn (2008), “Slavery, Inequality, and Economic Development in the Americas: An Examination of the Engerman-Sokoloff Hypothesis”
  • Coatsworth (2005), “Structures, Endowments, and Institutions in the Economic History of Latin America”
  • Prados de la Escosura (2007), “When did Latin America Fall Behind?”
  • Williamson (2010), “Five centuries of Latin American income inequality”
  • Bertola & Williamson (2017), Has Latin American Inequality Changed Direction: Looking Over the Long Run (an open-access book)
  • Arroyo Abad & van Zanden (2016), “Growth under Extractive Institutions? Latin American Per Capita GDP in Colonial Times”
  • Arroyo Abad, Davies & van Zanden (2012), “Between conquest and independence: Real wages and demographic change in Spanish America, 1530–1820”
  • Astorga (2010), “A century of economic growth in Latin America”
  • Astorga, Bergés & Fitzgerald (2011), “Productivity Growth over the Long Run in Latin America” [ungated]
  • Manzel, Baten & Stolz (2012), “Convergence and divergence of numeracy: the development of age heaping in Latin America from the seventeenth to the twentieth century”
  • Frankema (2009), “The Expansion of Mass Education in Twentieth Century Latin America: A Global Comparative Perspective”
  • Thorp (1992), “A reappraisal of the origins of import-substitution industrialization”
  • Kay (2002), “Why East Asia Overtook Latin America: Agrarian Reform, Industrialisation and Development”
  • Edwards (2009), “Protectionism and Latin America’s historical economic decline”
  • Dornbusch & Edwards (1991), “The Macroeconomics of Populism in Latin America”
  • {Arnaut ISI paper}
  • Arnaut (2015), “The redemption of the Washington Consensus in Latin America” {despite the title, not a defence of the WC; rather, a good short overview of the history of structural adjustment in Latin America}
  • Haussman & Rodriguez (2006), “Why Did Venezuelan Growth Collapse {chapter in this book}
  • Frankema & Masé (2014), “An Island Drifting Apart. Why Haiti is mired in poverty while the Dominican Republic forges ahead”


  • Aldrighi & Colistete (2013), “Industrial Growth and Structural Change: Brazil in a Long-Run Perspective”
  • Colistete (2010), “Revisiting Import-Substituting Industrialisation in Post-War Brazil”
  • Colistete (2007), “Productivity, Wages, and Labor Politics in Brazil, 1945–1962”
  • {de Filho, “Education Performance: Was It All Determined 100 Years Ago? Evidence From São Paulo, Brazil“}
  • Bucciferro (2017), “Racial Inequality in Brazil from Independence to the Present”
  • Tyler (1976), “Brazilian industrialization and industrial policies: A survey”


  • Salvucci, “The Economic History of Mexico” [ article]
  • Dobado González et al. (2008), “Mexican Exceptionalism: Globalization and De-Industrialization, 1750-1877” [ungated]
  • Haber (1992), “Assessing the Obstacles to Industrialization: The Mexican Economy, 1830-1940”
  • Challú & Gómez-Gavarriato (2015), “Mexico’s real wages in the age of the great divergence, 1730-1930” [ungated]
  • Campos-Vásquez et al. (2017), “Long-Run Human Development in Mexico: 1895–2010”
  • Haber, Maurer, & Razo (year?), “Economic Growth Amidst Political Instability: Evidence from Revolutionary Mexico” (summary of the book)
  • {Arnaut real wages mexican revolution}


  • Smith & Llorens (1998), Renaissance and Decay: A Comparison of Socioeconomic Indicators in Pre-Castro and Current-Day Cuba
  • McGuire & Frankel (2005), “Mortality Decline in Cuba, 1900-1959: Patterns, Comparisons, and Causes”
  • Ward & Devereux (2010), “The Road not taken: Pre-Revolutionary Cuban Living Standards in Comparative Perspective”
  • Ricón, “The Paradox of Cuban GDP” (blog)

Australia, Canada, Argentina

  • Irwin (2007), “Australian Exceptionalism Revisited”
  • McLean (2004), “Australian Economic Growth in Historical Perspective”
  • McLean (2007), “Might Australia have failed?: Endowments, Institutions, and Contingency”
  • Mcinnis (2000), “The Economy of Canada in the Nineteenth Century”
  • Harris, Keay, & Lewis (2015), “Protecting infant industries: Canadian manufacturing and the national policy, 1870–1913” [ungated]
  • Taylor (2014), “The Argentina Paradox: Microexplanations and Macropuzzles”
  • Campos (2014), “A century of stagnation? Insights from the economic history of Argentina”
  • Díaz-Bonilla (2014), “Argentina: The Myth of a Century of Decline”
  • Francis, “Decline or Urbanisation? Argentina’s apparent decline during the twentieth century is more likely an illusion created by faulty GDP statistics”
  • Sanz-Villarroya (2005), “The convergence process of Argentina with Australia and Canada: 1875–2000”
  • Frankema & Visker (2011), “Reversal of Fortune in Argentina: Exploring industrial labour productivity in comparison to Australia, 1907-1973”
  • Debowicz & Segal (2014), “Structural Change in Argentina, 1935–1960: The Role of Import Substitution and Factor Endowments”
  • Francis (2016), “Globalisation, the Terms of Trade, and Argentina’s Expansion in the Long Nineteenth Century”



  • Austin & Broadberry (2014), “The Renaissance of African Economic History”
  • Hopkins (2009), “The New Economic History of Africa”
  • Fenske (2010), “The Causal History of Africa”
  • Austin (2008), “The ‘Reversal of Fortune’ Thesis and the Compression of History”, an historian’s critique of various economists’ theories of African development.
  • Broadberry & Gardner (2014), “African economic growth in a European mirror: a historical perspective”
  • Jerven (2010), “African Growth Recurring: An Economic History Perspective on African Growth Episodes, 1690-2010”
  • Austin, Frankema & Jerven (2015), “Patterns of manufacturing growth in Sub-Saharan Africa: from colonization to the present” (a chapter in this book)
    The History of African Development
  • Jerven (2016), “Capitalism in Pre-Colonial Africa: A Review”
  • Fenske (2014), “Ecology, Trade, and States in Pre-Colonial Africa”
  • Manning, “Slavery and Slave Trade in West Africa, 1450-1930
  • Fenske (2015), “African Polygamy: Past and Present”
  • Missiaia (2015), comment on Dincecco, Fenske, & Onorato, “Is Africa Different? Historical Conflict and State Development?”
  • Fenske (2013), “Does Land Abundance Explain African Institutions”
  • Michalopoulos & Papaioannou (2012), “The long-run effects of the Scramble for Africa”
  • Fourie, “The rise of education in Africa
  • Mariotti & Fourie (2014), “The Economics of Apartheid: an Introduction”
  • Fedderke & Simkins (2012), “Economic Growth in South Africa”
  • de Zwart (2011), “South African Living Standards in Global Perspective, 1835–1910”
  • Frankema (2013, 2014), “Africa and the Green Revolution A Global Historical Perspective”
  • Routley (2014), “Developmental States in Africa? A Review of Ongoing Debates and Buzzwords “
  • Jerven (2011), “The quest for the African dummy: explaining African post-colonial economic performance revisited” {ungated}


The Middle East

  • Michalopoulos, Naghavi & Prarolo (2016), “Islam, Inequality and Pre-Industrial Comparative Development” {ungated}
  • Shatzmiller (2011), “Economic Performance and Economic Growth in the Early Islamic World, 700-1000″
  • Blaydes & Chaney (2013), “The Feudal Revolution and Europe’s Rise: Political Divergence
    of the Christian West and the Muslim World before 1500 CE”
  • Pamuk & Shatzmiller (2014), “Plagues, Wages, and Economic Change in the Islamic Middle East, 700–1500″
  • Chaney (2016), “Religion and the Rise and Fall of Islamic Science”
  • Korotayev (2000), “Parallel-Cousin (FBD) Marriage, Islamization, and Arabization”
  • Kuran (2004), “Why the Middle East Is Economically Underdeveloped: Historical Mechanisms of Institutional Stagnation”
  • Rubin (2017), “Why the Middle East Fell Behind”
  • Balla & Johnson & (2009), “Fiscal Crisis and Institutional Change in the Ottoman Empire and France “
  • Rubin (2012), “Timur Kuran’s Framework and Economic Underdevelopment in the Islamic World”
  • Pamuk (2006), “Estimating economic growth in the Middle East since 1820”
  • Pryor (2007), “The Economic Impact of Islam on Developing Countries”
  • Pamuk & Williamson (2011), “Ottoman de-industrialization, 1800–1913: assessing the magnitude, impact, and response”
  • Pamuk (2004), “Institutional change and the longevity of the Ottoman Empire, 1500–1800”
  • Karaman & Pamuk (2010), “Ottoman State Finances in European Perspective, 1500–1914”
  • Saleh (2015), “The Reluctant Transformation: State Industrialization, Religion, and Human Capital in Nineteenth-Century Egypt”
  • Panza (2013), De-industrialization and re-industrialization in the Middle East: reflections on the cotton industry in Egypt and in the Izmir region”
  • Panza & Williamson (2015), “Did Muhammad Ali foster industrialization in early nineteenth-century Egypt?”
  • Esfahani & Pesaran (2009), “The Iranian Economy in the Twentieth Century: A Global Perspective”
  • Hansen (2001), “Learning to Tax: The Political Economy of the Opium Trade in Iran, 1921-1941”
  • Marquez (2015), “The Saudi Monarchy as a Family Firm”


“Deep History”

The area where development, history, institutions, geography, culture, biology, and colonial legacies intertwine in the social sciences is often labelled “comparative historical development”. (Morten Jerven derisively and unfairly but still amusingly calls it the “history matters” literature.)

The best overall surveys of this research are:

  • Nunn (2009), “The Importance of History for Economic Development”
  • Nunn (2014), “Historical Development”
  • Spolaore & Wacziarg (2013), “How deep are the roots of economic development?”

Bryan Caplan and Garett Jones did duelling surveys of the “deep history” research, in the context of debating migration.

For me the two most interesting individual papers of the ‘deep history’ genre are:

  • Putterman & Weil (2010), “Post-1500 Population Flows and the Long-Run Determinants of Economic Growth and Inequality” (also see their two VoxEU articles: this and this)
  • Galor & Özak (2016), “The Agricultural Origins of Time Preference”

Geography & development:

  • Andersen, Dalgaard & Selaya (2016), “Climate and the Emergence of Global Income Differences”
  • Hibbs & Olsson (2004), “Geography, biogeography, and why some countries are rich and others are poor”
  • Easterly & Levine (2003), “Tropics, germs, and crops: how endowments influence economic development”
  • Fenske & Kala, “Environmental economic history
  • Henderson et al., “On the spatial distribution of development: The roles of nature and history”
  • Dell et al. (2014), “What Do We Learn from the Weather? The New Climate–Economy Literature”

‘Stateness’ & State Antiquity:

  • Borcan, Olsson, & Putterman (2015), “State History and Economic Development: Evidence from Six Millennia”
  • Chanda & Putterman (2007), “Early Starts, Reversals and Catch-up in the Process of Economic Development”
  • Bockstette, Chanda, & Putterman (2002), “States & Markets: The Advantage of an Early Start”
  • Hariri (2012), “The Autocratic Legacy of Early Statehood”
  • Jentzen, Kaarsen, & Wingender (2016), “Irrigation & Autocracy” {ungated}
  • Olsson & Paik (2012), “A Western Reversal since the Neolithic? The long-run impact of early agriculture”

Ethnic and other kinds of heterogeneity:

  • Vollrath (2016), “Ethnic Fractionalization & Growth” (blog)
  • Easterly, Ritzen, & Woolcock (2006), “Institutions, Social Cohesion & Growth”
  • Wimmer (2015), “Is Diversity Detrimental? Ethnic Fractionalization, Public Goods Provision, and the Historical Legacies of Stateness”
  • Akbari, Bahrami-Rad & Kimbrough (2016), “Kinship, Fractionalization and Corruption”
  • Alesina, Glaeser, & Sacerdote (2001), “Why Doesn’t the United States Have a European-Style Welfare State?”

VoxEU has also just issued a 3-volume series of free e-booklets called The Long Economic and Political Shadow of History (~150 pages in each volume). It brings together very readable summaries of the “deep history” literature by some of the key researchers themselves. Parts one (global), two (Asia & Africa), and three (Europe & the Americas).

Unified growth theory:

  • Galor (2005), “From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory” [from Handbook of Economic Growth]
  • Jason Collins has a very nice blog on one of the core papers of UGT along with simulations and calibration exercises, as well as five additional posts summarising Galor’s book.

The following are not covered in any of the above surveys:

  • Beauchamp et al. (2011), “Molecular Genetics and Economics”
  • Benjamin et al. (2012), “The Promises and Pitfalls of Genoeconomics”
  • Winegard, Winegard, & Boutwell (2017), “Human Biological and Psychological Diversity”
  • Plomin et al. (2015), “Top 10 Replicated Findings From Behavioral Genetics”
  • Polderman et al. (2015), “Meta-analysis of the heritability of human traits based on fifty years of twin studies”
  • Cesarini & Visscher (2017), “Genetics and educational attainment”
  • Vollrath, “Genetic Origins of Economic Development


  • Vollrath, “Who are you calling a Malthusian” (the single best short description of Malthusian economics ever)
  • Clark (2008), “In defense of the Malthusian interpretation of history” [especially for Clark’s response to Bowles’s and McCloskey’s critique]
  • Ashraf & Galor (2011), “Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch”
  • Lagerlöf (2016), “Understanding per-capita income growth in preindustrial Europe”
  • Wu (2015), “If not Malthusian, then why?”
  • Little, The Brenner Debate Revisited
  • Brenner (1976), “Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe”
  • Findlay & Lundahl (2006), “Demographic Shocks and the Factor Proportions Model: From the Plague of Justinian to the Black Death” (chapter in this book)


Ancient Economies

  • Temin (2006) “The Economy of the Early Roman Empire”
  • Bautista (2017), review of Peter Temin’s The Roman Market Economy
  • Scheidel (2007), “Roman population size: the logic of the debate”
  • Harper (2016), “People, Plagues, and Prices in the Roman World: The Evidence from Egypt”
  • Mark Koyama’s series on the ancient Roman economy at Medium: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Scheidel (2009), “A peculiar institution? Greco–Roman monogamy in global context”
  • Morris (2005), “The collapse and regeneration of complex society in Greece, 1500-500 BC”
  • Ober (2011), “Wealthy Hellas” {ungated; but also make sure to read the caveat here}
  • Kron (2011), “The Distribution of Wealth at Athens in Comparative Perspective”
  • Scheidel (2013), “Slavery and forced labor in early China and the Roman world”
  • Scheidel (2007), “From the ‘Great Convergence’ to the ‘First Great Divergence’: Roman and Qin-Han state formation and its aftermath”
  • Kron (2005), “Anthropometry, Physical Anthropology, and the Reconstruction of Ancient Health, Nutrition, and Living Standards”
  • Finley (1965), “Technical Innovation and Economic Progress in the Ancient World”
  • Greene (2000), “Technological Innovation and Economic Progress in the Ancient World: M. I. Finley Re-Considered”
  • van Bavel (2014), “New Perspectives on Factor Markets and Ancient Middle Eastern Economies: A Survey” {ungated}
  • Temin (2006), “Mediterranean Trade in Biblical Times” {ungated}
  • Temin (2002), “Price Behavior in Ancient Babylon”
  • Allen (1997), “Agriculture and the Origins of the State in Ancient Egypt”


{ …Not yet linked…}

The Moral Economy

  • Fafchamps (1992), “Solidarity Networks in Preindustrial Societies: Rational Peasants with a Moral Economy”
  • north on polanyi
  • olgilvie economic world of the bohemian sef
  • DeLong (1997), “On the ‘Embedded Economy’ Thesis”
  • scott-popkin debate on moral economy
  • mccloskey-blyth exchange on polanyi
  • Stiglitz, rational peasants

{ …Not yet sorted…}

  • DeLong (1999), “Seeing One’s Intellectual Roots: A Review Essay” (review of James Scott’s Seeing like a State); also see Henry Farrell’s response: “DeLong, Hayek, and Scott”; also see the Cato forum on Scott, with an essay by Scott and responses from various including DeLong
  • DeLong/kremer/ir blog
  • Leunig (2010), “Social Savings”
  • Moser (2013), “Patents and Innovation: Evidence from Economic History”
  • Jones (2011) palgrave gca & national productivity
  • Southwood (), review of Vanhanen
  • Diamond (1998), “Japanese Roots”
  • Diamond (2001), “Deaths of Languages”
  • Lane, Readings in the history of Asian state capacity
  • Ruff (2002), “Variation in Human Body Size and Shape”
  • Hansen & Hansen (2016), “The historian’s craft and economics”
  • Milanovic, Economic reflections on the fall of Constantinople

Post-war Western Europe

  • Temin (2002), “The Golden Age of European growth reconsidered”
  • Crafts (1995), “The golden age of economic growth in western Europe, 1950–1973”
  • Eichengreen & Ritschl (2009), “Understanding West German economic growth in the 1950s”
  • Broadberry & Crafts (2003), “UK Productivity Performance from 1950 to 1979: A Restatement of the Broadberry-Crafts View”
  • Crafts (2012), “British relative economic decline revisited: The role of competition”
  • O’Rourke independent ireland in comparative perspective
  • O’Rourke & o’grada Irish economic growth since 1945
  • Honohan Walsh Catching Up with the Leaders: The Irish Hare
  • Spain-Franco-macro
  • Bosworth & Kollintzas “Economic Growth in Greece: Past Performance and Future Prospects”
  • Comin, Gong & Easterly
  • Robinson (2006), “Economic Development and Democracy”
  • Cherrier, The Making of Economic Facts: A Reading List
  • Nagging Persistence” (Nature Behaviour article describing the debate on the causes and persistence of female genital mutilation)
  • Temin (1991) Soviet and Nazi Economic Planning in the 1930s
  • Goldstone State Breakdown in the English Revolution- A New Synthesis
  • Goldstone  Origins of the English Revolution- A Demographic Approach
  • Hsieh & Song (2015), “Grasp the Large, Let Go of the Small: The Transformation of the State Sector in China”
  • Amsden (1979), “Taiwan’s Economic History: A Case of Etatisme and a Challenge to Dependency Theory
  • Haggard et al. (1997), “Japanese Colonialism and Korean Development: A Critique”
  • Habib 1980. The technology and economy of Mughal India. Indian Economic and Social History Review
  • elvin 1984. “Why China failed to create an endogenous industrial capitalism: a critique of Max Weber’s explanation”
  • Easterly The Lost Decades: Developing Countries’ Stagnation in Spite of Policy Reform 1980–1998
  • Basu (2009), “China and India: Idiosyncratic Paths to High Growth”
  • Easterly (2006), “Reliving the 1950s: the big push, poverty traps, and takeoffs in economic development” JEG
  • Barro & Lee (2010), “Educational attainment in the world, 1950–2010”
  • José L. Ricón, Karl Polanyi bibliography (incomplete, but very good critical compilation)

  • Flandreau (1996), “The French Crime of 1873: An Essay on the Emergence of the International Gold Standard, 1870-1880”
  • Schirmer et al. (2010), “The State and Scope of the Economic History of Developing Regions”
  • Allen (2001), “The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War”
  • Roy (2014), “The Rise and Fall of Indian Economic History 1920–2013”
  • Morris (1963),”Towards a Reinterpretation of Nineteenth-Century Indian Economic History” + the reply by Raychaudhuri (1968), “A Re-interpretation of Nineteenth Century Indian Economic History?
  • McAlpin (1983), “Famines, Epidemics, and Population Growth: The Case of India”
  • Collard & Foley (2002), “Latitudinal patterns and environmental determinants of recent human cultural diversity: do humans follow biogeographical rules?”
  • Woodley & Bell (2012), “Consanguinity as a Major Predictor of Levels of Democracy: A Study of 70 Nations”
  • Jason Collins, Economics & Evolutionary Biology Reading List
  • Kuran (2003), “The Islamic Commercial Crisis: Institutional Roots of Economic Underdevelopment in the Middle East”
  • De Vries (2000), “Dutch Economic Growth in Comparative Historical Perspective, 1500-2000”
  • Maurer, “Brazil was not a country before 1914, economically-speaking” (blog)
  • Irigoin & Grafe (2008), “Bargaining for Absolutism: A Spanish Path to Nation-State and Empire Building”
  • Inwood & Keay (2012), “Diverse paths to industrial development: evidence from late-nineteenth-century Canada” [ungated]