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    Natural Experiments of History (Paperback) Edited by Jared Diamond, Edited by James A. Robinson

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    DescriptionSome 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.


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  • Full bibliographic data for Natural Experiments of History

    Title
    Natural Experiments of History
    Authors and contributors
    Edited by Jared Diamond, Edited by James A. Robinson
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 288
    Width: 142 mm
    Height: 208 mm
    Thickness: 20 mm
    Weight: 227 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9780674060197
    ISBN 10: 0674060199
    Classifications

    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 17430
    B&T Book Type: NF
    BIC E4L: HIS
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T5.0
    Ingram Subject Code: HP
    BIC subject category V2: HBAH
    B&T General Subject: 431
    LC classification: D
    BISAC V2.8: POL010000, HIS016000, POL023000
    B&T Merchandise Category: UP
    BISAC V2.8: BUS023000, BUS069010
    Abridged Dewey: 907
    DC22: 907.2
    LC subject heading: ,
    Thema V1.0: NHAH
    Edition statement
    Reprint
    Illustrations note
    14 figures, 5 maps, 7 tables
    Publisher
    HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS
    Imprint name
    The Belknap Press
    Publication date
    01 September 2011
    Publication City/Country
    Cambridge, Mass.
    Author Information
    Jared Diamond is Professor of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles. His books include Guns, Germs, and Steel. James A. Robinson is Professor of Government, Harvard University.
    Review quote
    Natural Experiments of History is a short book packed with huge ideas. Its collected essays advocate how controlled experiments can be applied to the messy realities of human history, politics, culture, economics and the environment. It demonstrates productive interdisciplinary collaborations but also reveals gulfs between different cultures of academia...All of the essays in Natural Experiments of History will trigger debate. -- Jon Christensen Nature 20100325 This ambitious, at times challenging, book aspires to contribute new ways of historical thinking and historical research by drawing attention, on the one hand, to the similarities between science (including social sciences) and history, and on the other, by using social sciences methods, especially statistical analysis, to study history. The editors argue that though the difference between studies of nature and human history is obvious, there are clear overlaps. They can be viewed through studying comparative history or by conducting "natural experiments of history" and analyzing the "perturbations" and their causes (exogenous or endogenous) in the involved cases. The book offers a broad array of case studies to illustrate and explain the argument, ranging from nonliterate to contemporary societies and from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to Brazil, India, and tropical Africa. The comparative methods showcased are quite versatile, from two-way to multiple-way comparisons. All the case studies are interesting and help demonstrate how, via comparative study, one society's, region's, or country's situation is better displayed and explained by juxtaposing it with other, similar ones. A useful read in macro, global history. -- Q. E. Wang Choice 20101101 Natural Experiments of History is a thought-provoking collection of essays that covers an impressive array of topics and would make an excellent text for a course on comparative studies of human history." -- Thomas E. Currie Cliodynamics
    Table of contents
    * Prologue: Natural Experiments of History Jared Diamond and James A. Robinson * Controlled Comparison and Polynesian Cultural Evolution Patrick V. Kirch * Exploding Wests: Boom and Bust in Nineteenth-Century Settler Societies James Belich * Politics, Banking, and Economic Development: Evidence from New World Economies Stephen Haber * Intra-Island and Inter-Island Comparisons Jared Diamond * Shackled to the Past: The Causes and Consequences of Africa's Slave Trades Nathan Nunn * Colonial Land Tenure, Electoral Competition, and Public Goods in India Abhijit Banerjee and Lakshmi Iyer * From Ancien Regime 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