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Climatic Fluctuations and the Di¤usion of Agriculture

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This research examines variations in the di¤usion of agriculture across countries and archaeological sites. The theory suggests that a society?s history of climatic shocks shaped the timing of its adoption of farming. Speci?cally, as long as climatic disturbances did not lead to a collapse of the underlying resource base, the rate at which foragers were climatically propelled to experiment with their habitats determined the accumulation of tacit knowledge complementary to farming. Thus, di¤erences in climatic volatility across hunter-gatherer societies gave rise to the observed spatial variation in the timing of the adoption of agriculture. Consistent with the proposed hypothesis, the empirical investigation demonstrates that, conditional on biogeographic endowments, climatic volatility has a non-monotonic e¤ect on the timing of the adoption of agriculture. Farming di¤used earlier across regions characterized by intermediate levels of climatic ?uctuations, with those subjected to either too high or too low intertemporal variability transiting later.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Brown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2013-3.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2013-3

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Postal: Department of Economics, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912

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Keywords: Hunting and gathering; agriculture; Neolithic Revolution; climatic volatility; Broad Spectrum Revolution; technological progress;

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