Patterns of political unification and fragmentation have crucial implications for comparative economic development. Diamond (1997) famously argued that “fractured-land” was responsible for China’s tendency towards political unification and Europe’s protracted political fragmentation. Mark Koyama and his co-authors build a model with granular geographical information to quantitatively gauge the effects of “fractured-land” on state formation in Eurasia. They find that a broad version of the “fractured-land” hypothesis that takes into account both topographical features and the location of productive agricultural land is necessary and sufficient, within their model, to account for China’s recurring political unification and Europe’s persistent political fragmentation. In particular, the existence of a core region of high land productivity in Northern China plays a central role in their simulations. In this Quantitative History Webinar, Mark will discuss how their results map into observed historical outcomes and how robust their findings are.
Mark's co-authors are Jesús Fernández-Villaverde (University of Pennsylvania), Youhong Lin (Center for Cliometrics Studies of China, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies), and Tuan-Hwee Sng (NUS Department of Economics).
This Webinar is a joint event with Economic History of Developing Regions Virtual Seminar
hosted by the journal "Economic History of Developing Regions" of the Economic History Society of Southern Africa.
Live on Zoom on July 9, 2020
09:00 Eastern Time | 14:00 London | 21:00 Hong Kong/Beijing/Singapore | 22:00 Tokyo
Photo credit: By Tom-b - Own work, under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)
About the Quantitative History Webinar Series
The Quantitative History Webinar Series, convened by Professor Zhiwu Chen and Dr. Chicheng Ma of The University of Hong Kong (HKU), aims to provide researchers, teachers and students with an online intellectual platform to keep up to date with the latest research in the field, promoting the dissemination of research findings and interdisciplinary use of quantitative methods in historical research. The Series is co-organized by the International Society for Quantitative History, HKU Business School, and the Asia Global Institute (AGI).
Professor Zhiwu Chen
Dr. Chicheng Ma