Gojko Barjamovic

Harvard University

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Institutional Affiliation: Harvard University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

November 2017Trade, Merchants, and the Lost Cities of the Bronze Age
with Thomas Chaney, Kerem A. Coşar, Ali Hortaçsu: w23992
We analyze a large dataset of commercial records produced by Assyrian merchants in the 19th Century BCE. Using the information collected from these records, we estimate a structural gravity model of long-distance trade in the Bronze Age. We use our structural gravity model to locate lost ancient cities. In many instances, our structural estimates confirm the conjectures of historians who follow different methodologies. In some instances, our estimates confirm one conjecture against others. Confronting our structural estimates for ancient city sizes to modern data on population, income, and regional trade, we document persistent patterns in the distribution of city sizes across four millennia, even after controlling for time-invariant geographic attributes such as agricultural suitability. ...

Published: Gojko Barjamovic & Thomas Chaney & Kerem Coşar & Ali Hortaçsu, 2019. "Trade, Merchants, and the Lost Cities of the Bronze Age*," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol 134(3), pages 1455-1503.

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