The economic effects of long-term climate change: evidence from the little ice age

This paper shows empirical evidence on the economic effects of long-term climate change in Early Modern Europe during a 250-year period (1500-1750) of the Little Ice Age. It estimates the economic impact of climate change by factoring in the potentially mitigating effects of adaptation. Results show the negative economic effects of long-term climate change. The findings further show that climate change operated through its effect on agricultural productivity and that more advanced economies that were well connected to trade networks were less affected. Adaptation was lacking and could not undo the negative economic effects of climate change. These results contribute to a recent strand of literature of empirical evidence on the effects of climate change and on the slow nature of adaptation processes.

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