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A Review Essay of Escape From Rome

Koyama, Mark, A Review Essay of Escape From Rome (February 25, 2020). Accepted for Publication in The Journal of Economic Literature. Available at SSRN:  – “This essay reviews Escape from Rome by Walter Scheidel. It examines the argument that Europe’s persistent fragmentation following the collapse of the Rome empire is responsible for the origins of the modern world. First, I consider Scheidel’s argument that the rise of Rome at the end of the first millennium BCE was relatively overdetermined, but that once Rome fell, it was highly unlikely for any subsequent empire to dominate Europe. Second, I examine the institutional consequences of this divergence in state-building. Finally, I reflect on the role of counterfactuals in history.”

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