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Research Project

Economic Analysis of Ancient Trade: The Case of the Old Assyrian Merchants of the 19th Century BCE

2015 – 2018

Key Question

Project Summary

Applying modern mathematical and computational economic methods to the age of antiquity, this project elucidated the ancient history of entrepreneurial, market-oriented private trade.

Research Team

Gojko Barjamovic

Gojko Barjamovic

Senior Lecturer on Assyriology

Harvard University

Gojko Barjamovic is a specialist in the political and social history of Assyria in the 2nd and 1st millennia BC, and particularly trade and the development of early markets.

Alain Bresson

Alain Bresson

Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Classics, History, the Oriental Institute, and the College

University of Chicago

Alain Bresson specializes in the ancient world, with particular interests in the ancient economy, the Hellenistic world, and the epigraphy of Rhodes and Asia Minor. To learn more about his research and publications, please visit his profile page at the Department of History.

Thomas Chaney

Thomas Chaney

Professor of Economics, CEPR Research Fellow, CESifo Research Fellow, Associated Professor and Researcher at SciencesPo

University of Southern California, SciencesPo

Thomas Chaney is a Professor of Economics at the University of Southern California and Sciences Po.


To learn more about his research and publications, please visit his profile page at USC.

Kerem Coşar

Kerem Coşar

Professor, Department of Economics

University of Virginia

Kerem Coşar's research interests include international trade, economic geography, and industrial organization. To learn more about his research and publications, please visit his website.

Thomas Hertel

Thomas Hertel

Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Economics

Perdue University

Thomas Hertel is Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, where his research focuses on the global impacts of trade, climate and environmental policies. His most recent research has focused on food and environmental security and the impacts of climate change and...

Ali Hortacsu

Ali Hortacsu

Ralph and Mary Otis Isham Professor in Economics and the College

University of Chicago

Ali Hortacsu's research is focused on empirically assessing the efficiency of markets. He uses detailed micro-level market data to estimate preference and technology parameters that rationalize individual behavior. He then uses the estimated preferences and technological parameters to construct...

David Schloen

David Schloen

Professor of Syro-Palestinian Archaeology, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations; Associated Faculty, Divinity School

University of Chicago

David Schloen specializes in the archaeology and history of the Levant in the Bronze and Iron Ages (ca. 3500 to 300 BCE). His archaeological fieldwork began at Ashkelon in Israel, where he served as associate director and co-edited the series of excavation reports. He has also conducted...

Reading List

Gojko Barjamovic, Thomas Chaney, Kerem Cosar, Ali Hortacsu

Trade, Merchants, and the Lost Cities of the Bronze Age Quarterly Journal of Economics Read

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