Weather Shocks, Sweet Potatoes and Peasant Revolts in Historical China

Year: 2011 HiCN Working Paper No. 093

Does production technology adoption affect conflict? This paper studies this question with yearly historical data on weather, peasant revolts and the diffusion of sweet potatoes in China between 1470 and 1900. It shows that droughts increased peasant revolts by about 10% whereas the effect of floods was not significant. Moreover, the diffusion of a new crop, sweet potatoes, mitigated the effects of droughts on revolts.