Fractured-Land and the Puzzle of Political Unification and Fragmentation

Mark Koyama (George Mason University)

March 14, 2019, 11:00–12:30


Room MF 323


A prominent explanation for Europe’s long history of political fragmentation and China’s tendency towards political unification is the fractured land hypothesis made famous by Diamond (1997a). We build a model to explore the effects of geography on political fragmentation. We find that topography, or fractured land, is necessary but not sufficient to account for China’s early political centralization and Europe’s persistent political fragmentation. The existence, or lack thereof, of a dominant core region of high land productivity also plays a critical role in explaining the political divergence at the two ends of Eurasia. Joint with Jesús Fernández-Villaverde, Mark Koyama, Youhong Lin, Tuan-Hwee Sng


Mark Koyama (George Mason University), Fractured-Land and the Puzzle of Political Unification and Fragmentation, Development, Labor and Public Policy Seminar, Toulouse: TSE, March 14, 2019, 11:00–12:30, room MF 323.