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The Rise of Neolithic Agriculture

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Author Info

  • Olsson, Ola

    ()
    (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

The article analyzes the economic reasons behind the rise of Neolithic agriculture some 10,000 years ago in consideration of evidence that agriculture was not associated with increasing standards of living. On the basis of archeological and anthropological literature, the article presents a modelling framework that allows for four broad explanations to the agricultural transition; (i) environmental conditions, (ii) population pressure,(iii) cultural influence, and (iv) external factors. It is shown that the introduction of agriculture first increases welfare but then leads to a steady decline. The reason for this deterioration is the switch from a pure Malthusian population growth regime to a partly exogenous regime where population grows without constraints and drive hunter-gatherers into agriculture in a Boserupian manner. When the model is confronted with archeological evidence from the Jordan Valley, it appears that envi-ronmental change, population growth, and a uniquely favourable biogeography for domestication led to the introduction of agriculture.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/2861
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 57.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 27 Sep 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0057

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden
Phone: 031-773 10 00
Web page: http://www.handels.gu.se/econ/
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Related research

Keywords: agricultur; hunting-gathering; environment; technology; population; transition.;

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References

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  1. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2001. "Evolution and growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 718-729, May.
  2. Jones Charles I., 2001. "Was an Industrial Revolution Inevitable? Economic Growth Over the Very Long Run," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-45, August.
  3. Olsson, Ola & Hibbs, Douglas Jr., 2005. "Biogeography and long-run economic development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 909-938, May.
  4. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 1998. "Malthus to Solow," NBER Working Papers 6858, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Oded Galor & David N. Weil, 1998. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From the Malthusian Regime to the Demographic Transition," Working Papers 98-1, Brown University, Department of Economics, revised 19 Aug 1998.
  6. Marvin Goodfriend & John McDermott, 1994. "Early development," Working Paper 94-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
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Cited by:
  1. Matthew J. Baker, 2005. "Technological Progress, Population Growth, Property Rights, and the Transition to Agriculture," Departmental Working Papers 9, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
  2. Matthew Baker, 2008. "A structural model of the transition to agriculture," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 257-292, December.
  3. Gregory K. Dow & Nancy Olewiler & Clyde Reed, 2005. "The Transition to Agriculture: Climate Reversals, Population Density, and Technical Change," Discussion Papers dp05-01, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
  4. Quamrul Ashraf & Stelios Michalopoulos, 2013. "Climatic Fluctuations and the Di¤usion of Agriculture," Working Papers 2013-3, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  5. Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2005. "From Foraging To Farming: Explaining The Neolithic Revolution," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(4), pages 561-586, 09.
  6. Gregory Dow & Clyde Reed & Nancy Olewiler, 2009. "Climate reversals and the transition to agriculture," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 27-53, March.
  7. Quamrul Ashraf & Stelios Michalopoulos, 2010. "The Climatic Origins of the Neolithic Revolution: Theory and Evidence," Center for Development Economics 2010-10, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  8. Olsson, Ola & Hibbs, Douglas Jr., 2005. "Biogeography and long-run economic development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 909-938, May.

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