Mark Koyama

Mark Koyama

Mark Koyama


Economic History

Mark Koyama is Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University and Mercatus Center, Senior Scholar. Professor Koyama earned his PhD in Economics from the University of Oxford. He previously lectured at the University of York and spent a year at the Political Theory Project at Brown University. He is interested in how historical institutions functioned and in the relationship between culture and economic performance.  His work has been published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Journal of Economic Literature, the Economic Journal and many other scholarly journals. 
He is the author of two books:  Persecution and Toleration: The Long Road to Religious Freedom (CUP: 2019) with Noel Johnson and How the World Became Rich (Polity: 2022) with Jared Rubin. 

Selected Publications

"The Fractured Land Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, with Jesus Fernandez-Villverde, Youhong Lin, and Tuan-Hwee Sng. Vol. 138. Issue 2. May 2023. Pages 1173-1231. 

"Pandemics, Places, and Populations: Evidence from the Black Death and the Long-Run," with Remi Jedwab and Noel Johnson.  Journal of Urban Economics.  Forthcoming. 

"The Political Economy of Status Competition: Sumptuary Laws in Preindustrial Europe," with Desiree Desierto. Journal of Economic History.  Forthcoming. 

 "Legal Capacity in Historical Political Economy" in The Oxford Handbook of Historical Political Economy, edited by Jeffrey A. Jenkins and Jared Rubin. Oxford University Press. 2023. 

How the World Became Rich” with Jared Rubin. Polity Press, May 2022. Amazon.

Persecution and Toleration: The Long Road to Religious Freedom, with Noel D. Johnson, Cambridge University Press. Cambridge 2019. Amazon

“The Economic Impact of the Black Death,” The Journal of Economic Literature, with Remi Jedwab and Noel D. Johnson. Vol. 60. Issue 1. March 2022. Pages 132-178.

“Negative Shocks and Mass Persecutions: Evidence from the Black Death” with Remi Jebwab and Noel D Johnson. Journal of Economic Growth, vol. 24 (4), December 2019, pp. 345-395.

“Plague, Politics, and Pogroms: The Black Death, the Rule of Law, and the persecution of Jews in the Holy Roman Empire” with Theresa Finley Journal of Law & Economics, vol 61 (2), May 2018, pp 253-277. 

"Unified China and Divided Europe” with Chiu Yo Ko and Tuan-Hwee Sng, International Economic Review," vol. 59. 1, February 2018

“Jewish Communities and City Growth in Preindustrial Europe,” with Noel D. Johnson Journal of Development Economics, vol. 127, July 2017, pp. 339-354  

“Jewish Persecutions and Weather Shocks, 1100-1800” with Robert Warren Anderson and Noel Johnson.’ Economic Journal, vol. 127, 602, June 2017, pp. 924--958.

Taxes, Lawyers, and the Decline of Witchcraft Trials in France” with Noel D. Johnson. Journal of Law and Economics, vol. 57,  1, February  2014.  

Tax Farming and the Origins of State Capacity in England and France” with Noel D. Johnson. Explorations in Economic History vol. 51,1, pp. 1-20 January 2014 


Expanded Publication List

“Epidemic disease and the state: Is there a tradeoff between public health and liberty?” Public Choice Forthcoming 2022. 

“Seapower,” with Ahmed S. Rahman and Tuan-Hwee Sng,” Journal of Historical Political Economy Volume 1, Issue 2. 2022. 

“Medieval Cities Through the Lens of Urban Economic Theory” with Remi Jedwab and Noel D. Johnson, Regional Science and Urban Economics 2020, Forthcoming

“The Institutional Foundations of Religious Freedom”, The Journal of Economics,Management and Religion, 2020, Forthcoming.

“The State, Toleration, and Religious Freedom” with Noel D. Johnson, Forthcoming in Iyer, Rubin and Carvalho (Eds.), Advances in the Economics of Religion, 2019, Palgrave. 

“Economic History” The Routledge Companion to Jewish History and Historiography, edited by Dean Phillip Bell. Routledge. London. 2019.

Analytical Narratives” An Economist's Guide to Economic History, edited by Matthias Blum and Christopher Colvin, Palgrave Macmillan. London 2019. pp 371-378

“States and Economic Growth: Capacity and Constraints ” with Noel D. Johnson, Explorations in Economic History, April 2017, Volume 64, Issue 2, pp 1–20

"Education, Identity, and Community: Lessons from Jewish Emancipation" with Jean-Paul Carvalho and Michael Sacks. Public Choice, 2017, vol. 171(1), pp. 119--143.  

“Jewish Emancipation and Schism: Economic Development and Religious Change”, with Jean-Paul Carvalho, Journal of Comparative Economics, vol. 44, Issue 3, August 2016, pp. 562--584.

"States and Economic Growth: Capacity and Constraints", with Noel D. Johnson, Explorations in Economic History, vol. 64, April 2017, pp. 1--20.

“The Long Transition from a Natural State to a Liberal Economic Order”, International Review of Law and Economics, vol. 47, August 2016, pp. 29--39.

Monetary Stability and the Rule of Law”, with Blake Johnson, Journal of Financial Stability, vol 17, pp. 46-58, April 2015. 7.

The Law and Economics of Private Prosecutions in Industrial Revolution England”, Public Choice, vol. 159, issue 1-2, pp. 277-298, April 2014,

Legal Centralization and the Birth of the Secular State” with Noel D. Johnson. Journal of Comparative Economics, vol. 41, issue 4. November 2013. 11.

Prosecution Associations in Industrial Revolution England: Private Providers of Public Goods?”, Journal of Legal Studies, vol. 41, issue 1, 2012. 12.

“The Transformation of Labor Supply in the Pre-Industrial World”, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, vol. 81, issue 2, pp. 505-523, 2012. 13.

Evading the Taint of Usury: the Usury Prohibition as a Barrier to Entry”, Explorations in Economic History, vol. 47, issue 4 pp. 420-442, 2010. 14.

The Political Economy of Expulsion: the Regulation of Jewish Moneylending in Medieval England”, Constitutional Political Economy, vol. 32, issue 4, pp. 374-406, 2010

Grants and Fellowships

2017 W. Glenn Campbell and Rita Ricardo-Campbell Fellowship, Hoover Institution.

2016  Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University

2016 Isaac Manasseh Meyer Fellowship (IMMF), National University Singapore. 


DPhil in Economics, Oxford 2010. 

Recent Presentations

May 2019 Brown University (Deep Determinants of Economic Growth Conference)

April 2019 University of British Columbia (Law School) 

April 2019 University of British Columbia (Economics)

April 2019 James Madison University

March 2019 Toulouse School of Economics 

March 2019 Yale University 

October 2018 NYU

August 2018 World Economic History Congress (Boston, 2 talks)

May 2018 University of California, Davis

April 2018 Stanford University (Political Science)

February 2018: Stanford University (Economics) 

February 2018: University of California, Irvine

January 2018: Santa Clara University

December 2017: European Econometrics Meeting, Barcelona. 

December 2017: Chapman University

November 2017: University of Pennsylvania 

July 2017: IEA Roundtable on the Economics of Religion (Cambridge, UK)

June 2017: Law and Economics Workshop (Florence, Italy)

June 2017: SIOE (New York, USA)

May 2017: Northwestern University (Economic History Workshop)

April 2017:  Brown University (Political Theory Project)


In the Media

Here are a few media mentions.

The Economist: The Link Between Poor Harvests and Violence (June 2017)

The Upshot (NY Times): The Lack of Major Wars May Be Hurting Economic Growth (June 2014) How Come China Became One Country but Europe Became Lots of Countries? (January 2014)

Foreign Policy: In Medieval Europe, Bad Weather Was Especially Bad for Jews (June 2013)

Times of Israel: Pogroms on Jews linked to cold snaps (March 2013)

Financial Times: Costs of a Cuppa (August 2012)

Dissertations Supervised

Marcus Shera, The Political Economy of Christian Monasticism (2024)

Jacob Hall, Life in the Fast Lane: Essays in Economic History and State Building (2023)

Fernando Arteaga, Three Essays on the Formation and Fragmentation of States (2019)