On the Collapse of Historical Civilizations
AbstractTo explain the collapse of historical civilizations, scholars typically point to suboptimal behaviors including misunderstanding the natural environment, shortsightedness, or a lack of institutions. We examine the collapse of four historical societies with a model of endogenous population growth and renewable resources employing components of optimal resource management, economic growth theory, and the moral philosophy of social welfare function choice. We find that these collapses may have been socially optimal. Further, we show that the transient behavior of the system is more sensitive to assumptions than the equilibrium behavior and that focusing solely on equilibria may miss key insights. Copyright 2009, Oxford University Press.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its journal American Journal of Agricultural Economics.
Volume (Year): 91 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
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- Pietro F. Peretto & Simone Valente, 2011.
"Growth on a Finite Planet: Resources, Technology and Population in the Long Run,"
CER-ETH Economics working paper series
11/147, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
- Pietro F. Peretto & Simone Valente, 2013. "Growth on a Finite Planet: Resources, Technology, and Population in the Long Run," Working Papers 13-9, Duke University, Department of Economics.
- Pietro F. Peretto & Simone Valente, 2010. "Growth on a Finite Planet: Resources, Technology and Population in the Long Run," DEGIT Conference Papers c015_008, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
- Pietro Peretto & Simone Valente, 2011. "Growth on a Finite Planet: Resources, Technology and Population in the Long Run," Working Papers 11-12, Duke University, Department of Economics.
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