Nathan Nunn is an Professor of Economics at Harvard University. Professor Nunn was born in Canada, where he received his PhD from the University of Toronto in 2005. Professor Nunn’s primary research interests are in economic development, economic history, and international trade. He is an Associate editor of the Journal of International Economics and an NBER Faculty Research Fellow.
One stream of Nunn’s research focuses on the relationship between historic events and current economic performance within Africa. In “Historical Legacies: A Model Linking Africa’s Past to its Current Underdevelopment”, published in the Journal of Development Economics in 2007, Nunn develops a game-theoretic model showing how the slave trade and colonial rule could have had permanent long-term effects on economic performance. In “The Long-Term Effects of Africa’s Slave Trades” (Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2008), Nunn documents the long-term adverse economic effects of Africa’s slave trades.
A second stream of Professor Nunn’s research focuses on the importance of hold-up and incomplete contracting in international trade. He has published research showing that a country’s ability to enforce written contracts is a key determinant of comparative advantage (“Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts and the Pattern of Trade”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2007).