Stone Age Economics: The Origins of Agriculture and the Emergence of Non-Food Specialists
AbstractThis paper examines the prehistoric shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture. Among hunters and gatherers, all community members were engaged in food provision. Agricultural societies, in contrast, avail themselves of non-food specialists. This paper argues that the adoption of agriculture necessitated the introduction of non-food specialists. Since the release of labour from food generating activities stimulates economic development, this implies that the shift to agriculture literally bore the seeds of later economic growth. The model shows, in accordance with archaeological evidence, that hunters and gatherers, faced with redistribution costs arising from division of labour, delay the adoption of agricultural techniques for a period of time, after which a large step forward in food procurement technology–a ’Neolithic revolution’–is associated with the shift to farming.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 03-34.
Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2003
Date of revision:
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More information through EDIRC
hunting-gathering; leisure time; neolithic revolution; nonfood specialists; transition;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
- O33 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
- Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
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