Natural Experiments of History

Front Cover
Jared Diamond
Harvard University Press, Nov 1, 2012 - History - 286 pages
2 Reviews
In eight case studies by leading scholars in history, archaeology, business, economics, geography, and political science, the authors showcase the “natural experiment” or “comparative method”—well-known in any science concerned with the past—on the discipline of human history. That means, according to the editors, “comparing, preferably quantitatively and aided by statistical analyses, different systems that are similar in many respects, but that differ with respect to the factors whose influence one wishes to study.” The case studies in the book support two overall conclusions about the study of human history: First, historical comparisons have the potential for yielding insights that cannot be extracted from a single case study alone. Second, insofar as is possible, when one proposes a conclusion, one may be able to strengthen one’s conclusion by gathering quantitative evidence (or at least ranking one’s outcomes from big to small), and then by testing the conclusion’s validity statistically.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dandelionroots - LibraryThing

Considers seven historical comparisons, some with and with out statistical analysis making the case that both have their place and usefulness within the social sciences, but that statistical analysis ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Janientrelac - LibraryThing

Mixed bag of Articles around the theme of what is a natural experiment, how a historian makes the comparision and does the math. a lot of the statistical work was right over my head but interesting. I had no idea that so many original documents were avaliable about the slave trade for example. Read full review

Contents

Prologue
1
Controlled Comparison
15
Boom and Bust
53
Intralsland and InterIsland Comparisons
120
The Causes
142
Colonial Land Tenure Electoral Competition
185
The Spread
219
Using Comparative Methods
257
Contributors
277
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

Jared Mason Diamond is a physiologist, ecologist, and the author of several popular science books. Born in Boston in 1937, Diamond earned his B.A. at Harvard and his Ph.D. from Cambridge. A distinguished teacher and researcher, Diamond is well-known for the columns he contributes to the widely read magazines Natural History and Discover. Diamond's book The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal was heralded for its accessibility and for its blending of science and social science. The interdisciplinary Guns, Germs and Steel--Diamond's examination of the relationship between scientific technology and economic disparity--won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize. Diamond has won a McArthur Foundation Fellowship in addition to several smaller awards for his science and writing.

Bibliographic information