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Biogeographical Conditions, the Transition to Agriculture and Long-Run Growth

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  • Michael Bleaney
  • Arcangelo Dimico

Abstract

We use new data on the timing of the transition to agriculture, developed by Putterman and Trainor (2006), to test the theory of Diamond (1997) and Olsson and Hibbs (2005) that an earlier transition is reflected in higher incomes today. Our results confirm the theory, even after controlling for institutional quality and other geographical factors. The date of transition is correlated with prehistoric biogeography (the availability of wild grasses and large domesticable animal species). The factors conducive to high per capita incomes today are good institutions, an early transition to agriculture, access to the sea and a low incidence of fatal malaria. Geographical influences have been at work in all of these proximate determinants of per capita income.

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Paper provided by University of Nottingham, CREDIT in its series Discussion Papers with number 08/15.

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Handle: RePEc:not:notcre:08/15

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Postal: School of Economics University of Nottingham University Park Nottingham NG7 2RD
Phone: (44) 0115 951 5620
Fax: (0115) 951 4159
Web page: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/economics/
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Keywords: agriculture; geography; growth; institutions;

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  1. John Shea, 1997. "Instrument Relevance in Multivariate Linear Models: A Simple Measure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 348-352, May.
  2. Arvind Subramanian & Francesco Trebbi & Dani Rodrik, 2002. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions over Integration and Geography in Economic Development," IMF Working Papers 02/189, International Monetary Fund.
  3. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
  4. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker Than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116, February.
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