Macrohistory Seminar – Carl-Johan Dalgaard (University of Copenhagen)

Event details

  • | Thursday, October 27
  • 12:15 PM
  • Kaiserplatz 7-9, 4th floor, Room 4.006

The Bounty of the Sea and Long-Run Development

We document that a high level of natural productivity of the ocean – a rich bounty of the sea – has had a persistently positive impact on economic development: societies inhabited by people who descend from regions with eco-climatic conditions supporting a highly productive ocean are more prosperous today. We argue that an explanation is that a rich bounty of the sea facilitated early coastal settlements, which ultimately created a pre-industrial occupational structure that benefitted long term economic development. Specifically, we propose that societies that were more coastally oriented during the pre-industrial era were characterized by a less agrarian occupational structure, and thereby gained more experience in nonagricultural production. In the long run, this produced capabilities that were complementary to industrialization, and allowed for an early take-off to growth.

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