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From Foraging To Farming: Explaining The Neolithic Revolution

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  • Jacob L. Weisdorf

Abstract

This article reviews the main theories about the prehistoric shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture. The transition, also known as the Neolithic Revolution, was ultimately necessary to the rise of modern civilization by creating the foundation for the later process of industrialization and sustained economic growth. The article provides a brief historical survey of the leading hypotheses concerning the rise of agriculture proposed in the archaeological and anthropological literature. It then turns to a more detailed review of the theories put forth in the economic literature. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd, 2005.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Economic Surveys.

Volume (Year): 19 (2005)
Issue (Month): 4 (09)
Pages: 561-586

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jecsur:v:19:y:2005:i:4:p:561-586

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  1. Goodfriend, Marvin & McDermott, John, 1995. "Early Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 116-33, March.
  2. Olsson, Ola & Hibbs Jr., Douglas A., 2000. "Biogeography and Long-Run Economic Development," Working Papers in Economics 26, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 11 Aug 2000.
  3. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 1999. "From Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 150-154, May.
  4. Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2003. "Stone Age Economics: The Origins of Agriculture and the Emergence of Non-Food Specialists," Discussion Papers 03-34, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  5. Tamura, Robert, 2002. "Human capital and the switch from agriculture to industry," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 207-242, December.
  6. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2001. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2727, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716, August.
  8. Tomas Kögel & Alexia Prskawetz, 2000. "Agricultural productivity growth and escape from the Malthusian trap," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2000-002, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  9. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
  10. Olsson, Ola, 2001. "The Rise of Neolithic Agriculture," Working Papers in Economics 57, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  11. Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2004. "From stagnation to growth: Revisiting three historical regimes," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 455-472, 08.
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