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Maize and Precolonial Africa

Jevan Cherniwchan and Juan Moreno-Cruz ()

No 7018, CESifo Working Paper Series from CESifo Group Munich

Abstract: Columbus’s arrival in the New World triggered an unprecedented movement of people and crops across the Atlantic Ocean. We study an overlooked part of this Columbian Exchange: the effects of New World crops in Africa. Specifically, we test the hypothesis that the introduction of maize increased population density and Trans-Atlantic slave exports in precolonial Africa. We find robust empirical support for these predictions. We also find little evidence to suggest maize increased economic growth or reduced conflict. Our results suggest that rather than stimulating development, the introduction of maize simply increased the supply of slaves during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Keywords: Africa; Columbian exchange; maize; slave trades (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N57 O13 Q10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr, nep-dev, nep-evo, nep-gro and nep-his
Date: 2018
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