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Natural Experiments of History
     

Natural Experiments of History

4.0 1
by Jared Diamond, James A. Robinson
 

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ISBN-10: 0674035577

ISBN-13: 9780674035577

Pub. Date: 01/15/2010

Publisher: Harvard University Press

Some central questions in the natural and social sciences can't be answered by controlled laboratory experiments, often considered to be the hallmark of the scientific method. This impossibility holds for any science concerned with the past. In addition, many manipulative experiments, while possible, would be considered immoral or illegal. One has to devise

Overview

Some central questions in the natural and social sciences can't be answered by controlled laboratory experiments, often considered to be the hallmark of the scientific method. This impossibility holds for any science concerned with the past. In addition, many manipulative experiments, while possible, would be considered immoral or illegal. One has to devise other methods of observing, describing, and explaining the world.

In the historical disciplines, a fruitful approach has been to use natural experiments or the comparative method. This book consists of eight comparative studies drawn from history, archeology, economics, economic history, geography, and political science. The studies cover a spectrum of approaches, ranging from a non-quantitative narrative style in the early chapters to quantitative statistical analyses in the later chapters. The studies range from a simple two-way comparison of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which share the island of Hispaniola, to comparisons of 81 Pacific islands and 233 areas of India. The societies discussed are contemporary ones, literate societies of recent centuries, and non-literate past societies. Geographically, they include the United States, Mexico, Brazil, western Europe, tropical Africa, India, Siberia, Australia, New Zealand, and other Pacific islands.

In an Afterword, the editors discuss how to cope with methodological problems common to these and other natural experiments of history.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674035577
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
01/15/2010
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

  • Prologue: Natural Experiments of History
    Jared Diamond and James A. Robinson

  1. Controlled Comparison and Polynesian Cultural Evolution
    Patrick V. Kirch
  2. Exploding Wests: Boom and Bust in Nineteenth-Century Settler Societies
    James Belich
  3. Politics, Banking, and Economic Development: Evidence from New World Economies
    Stephen Haber
  4. Intra-Island and Inter-Island Comparisons
    Jared Diamond
  5. Shackled to the Past: The Causes and Consequences of Africa's Slave Trades
    Nathan Nunn
  6. Colonial Land Tenure, Electoral Competition, and Public Goods in India
    Abhijit Banerjee and Lakshmi Iyer
  7. From Ancien Régime to Capitalism: The Spread of the French Revolution as a Natural Experiment
    Daron Acemoglu, Davide Cantoni, Simon Johnson, and James A. Robinson

  • Afterword: Using Comparative Methods in Studies of Human History
    Jared Diamond and James A. Robinson
  • Contributors

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Natural Experiments of History 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago