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date: 21 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Environmental externalities, although important, have received relatively little attention from economic historians. Air, water, and soil pollution and conservation issues date from the time humans arrived in North America. In some times and places, these externalities were severe. The chapter reviews the literatures on historical pollution and conservation, which were largely written by environmental historians. Because of research interests and available data, American economic historians have traditionally been focused on growth in industrial and agricultural output. Recent research by economic historians on the historical effects of pollution on mortality and on the adaptation of agriculture to climate suggests that environmental issues are now of greater interest.

Keywords: externality, environment, conservation, water pollution, air pollution, soil pollution, climate

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