Natural Experiments of History

Natural Experiments of History

by Jared Diamond

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Overview

Natural Experiments of History by Jared Diamond

In eight case studies by leading scholars in history, archaeology, business, economics, geography, and political science, the authors showcase the “natural experiment” or “comparative method”—well-known in any science concerned with the past—on the discipline of human history. That means, according to the editors, “comparing, preferably quantitatively and aided by statistical analyses, different systems that are similar in many respects, but that differ with respect to the factors whose influence one wishes to study.” The case studies in the book support two overall conclusions about the study of human history: First, historical comparisons have the potential for yielding insights that cannot be extracted from a single case study alone. Second, insofar as is possible, when one proposes a conclusion, one may be able to strengthen one’s conclusion by gathering quantitative evidence (or at least ranking one’s outcomes from big to small), and then by testing the conclusion’s validity statistically.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674076723
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 11/01/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Jared Diamond is Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. His books include Guns, Germs, and Steel.

James A. Robinson is Professor of Government, Harvard University.

Table of Contents

Contents Prologue - 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

What People are Saying About This

Natural Experiments of History reaches across a wide variety of disciplines, in ways that should be accessible to just about every educated reader. It is tied together not by topic or region but by the idea that we can make useful and insightful comparisons in ways that are not casual or sloppy, but actually contribute to our understanding of human life.

Jeffry Frieden

Natural Experiments of History reaches across a wide variety of disciplines, in ways that should be accessible to just about every educated reader. It is tied together not by topic or region but by the idea that we can make useful and insightful comparisons in ways that are not casual or sloppy, but actually contribute to our understanding of human life.
Jeffry Frieden, Harvard University

Jeff Frieden

Natural Experiments of History reaches across a wide variety of disciplines, in ways that should be accessible to just about every educated reader. It is tied together not by topic or region but by the idea that we can make useful and insightful comparisons in ways that are not casual or sloppy, but actually contribute to our understanding of human life.
Jeff Frieden, Harvard University

John Coatsworth

A superb collection of eminently teachable essays bound together by a common methodological framework that connects it directly to cutting-edge theoretical and empirical research across the disciplines of anthropology, archeology, history, political science, and sociology.
John Coatsworth, Columbia University

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