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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 24 No. 2 (Spring 2010)

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The Columbian Exchange: A History of Disease, Food, and Ideas

Article Citation

Nunn, Nathan, and Nancy Qian. 2010. "The Columbian Exchange: A History of Disease, Food, and Ideas." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 24(2): 163-88.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.24.2.163

Abstract

This paper provides an overview of the long-term impacts of the Columbian Exchange -- that is, the exchange of diseases, ideas, food crops, technologies, populations, and cultures between the New World and the Old World after Christopher Columbus' voyage to the Americas in 1492. We focus on the aspects of the exchange that have been most neglected by economic studies; namely the transfer of diseases, food crops, and knowledge between the two Worlds. We pay particular attention to the effects of the exchange on the Old World.

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Authors

Nunn, Nathan (Harvard U)
Qian, Nancy (Yale U)

JEL Classifications

N33: Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Religion: Europe: Pre-1913
N36: Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Religion: Latin America; Caribbean
N43: Economic History: Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation: Europe: Pre-1913
N46: Economic History: Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation: Latin America; Caribbean
N53: Economic History: Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment, and Extractive Industries: Europe: Pre-1913
N56: Economic History: Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment, and Extractive Industries: Latin America; Caribbean

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