I will be doing a Conversation with him, he is an economist at Harvard, you could call much of his work economic history and economic development. Wikipedia notes:
A recurrent theme in Nunn’s research is the long-term impact of historical processes on economic development, often mediated through institutions, culture, knowledge and technology.
Key findings of his research include the following:
- Countries’ ability to enforce contracts is possibly a more important determinant of their comparative advantage than skilled labour and physical capital combined.
- A substantial part of Africa’s current underdevelopment appears to be caused by the long-term effects of the Atlantic and Arab slave trades.
- Current differences in trust levels within Africa are attributable to the impact of the Atlantic and Arab slave trades, which have caused the emergence of low-trust cultural norms, beliefs, and values in ethnic groups heavily affected by slavery (with Leonard Wantchekon).
- By impeding not only trade and technological diffusion but also the depredations of slave traders, the ruggedness of certain African regions’ terrain had a significant positive impact on these regions’ development (with Diego Puga).
- The introduction of the potato within the Columbian exchange may have been responsible for at least a quarter of the population and urbanisation growth observed in the Old World between 1700 and 1900 (with Nancy Qian).
- In line with Boserup’s hypothesis, the introduction and historical use of plough agriculture appears to have given men a comparative advantage and made gender norms less equal, with historical differences in the plough use of immigrants’ ancestral communities predicting their attitudes regarding gender equality (with Alberto Alesina and Paolo Giuliano).
- U.S. Food Aid is driven by U.S. objectives and can lead to increased conflict in recipient countries (with Nancy Qian).
So what should I ask him?