Epidemics in pre-industrial Europe: Impacts of climate change, economic well-being, and population

Yiru PEI, Qing PEI, Harry F. LEE, Mengyuan Bella QIU, Yuting YANG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

Academic attention is increasing to examine historical epidemics from the perspective of human ecology. Studies are still inadequate, however, from a macro-scale perspective (quantitative studies in particular) focusing on long-term dynamics of epidemics in pre-industrial Europe. In this study, two pathways in Europe during AD1350–1850, namely, “climate plus economy on epidemics” and “climate plus population on epidemics”, were empirically investigated via correlation, multivariate regression analysis, and autoregressive exogenous (ARX) analysis under the framework of human ecology. The statistical findings show that climate change, particularly cooling, affected epidemics significantly. Economic well-being was the important factor that influenced the dynamics of epidemics alongside climate change. Furthermore, if considering climatic impacts, population was also significant, but its effects had limited importance on epidemics compared with economic well-being. This study not only supplements current understanding of epidemic mechanisms within the context of human ecology, but also examines the economy–epidemic link from a pre-industrial perspective to consider the role of economy in epidemic outbreaks in the modern time. Lessons from macro-history will provide historical references to current societies when facing to unprecedented pandemic globally. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnthropocene
Volume37
Early online dateDec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Citation

Pei, Y., Pei, Q., Lee, H. F., Qiu, M., & Yang, Y. (2022). Epidemics in pre-industrial Europe: Impacts of climate change, economic well-being, and population. Anthropocene, 37. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ancene.2021.100317

Keywords

  • Epidemics
  • Climate change
  • Economic well-being
  • Population
  • Pre-industrial Europe
  • PG student publication

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