International Society for Quantitative History

Lectures & Workshops

New Crops and Old States: Economic Productivity and State Capacity in Historical China

12:00 | Thursday, September 14, 2023

Lecture Hall, May Hall, HKU

English

Clair Z. Yang

Clair Z. Yang

Assistant Professor, The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, Seattle

Most conventional theories of state origin regard economic development as a catalyst for state formation. However, new scholarly works increasingly emphasized the appropriability of output, rather than mere productivity, as the vital determinant. Clair Z. Yang of the University of Washington, in her latest study, leverages the introduction of two New World crops—maize and sweet potato—into historical China as a natural experiment. Maize, being a cereal grain, is highly appropriable, while sweet potato is not. During this Quantitative History Lecture, Clair Z. Yang presents her findings that reveal while both new crops contributed positively to population growth, their impact on state capacity differed significantly. Maize demonstrated a substantial and positive effect on state fiscal revenue, whereas sweet potato led to a decline in state capacity. Her results are consistent with the prediction of a state-locality bargaining model and underscore a multi-dimensional relationship between economic productivity and state-building.

Clair Z. Yang

Clair Z. Yang

Assistant Professor, The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, Seattle

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Lecture Hall, May Hall, HKU

Clair Z. Yang

English

As the city gets beyond the pandemic, we have resumed in-person events in partnership with the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Science and the Center for Quantitative History at The University of Hong Kong. 

What's On

International Society for Quantitative History

The International Society for Quantitative History (ISFQH) is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting, supporting, and enhancing the advancement of education, in particular research and knowledge dissemination in quantitative history, in Hong Kong and other parts of the world.

© 2024 International Society for Quantitative History | Registered Charity Number: 91/15784
All rights reserved.