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From Foraging to Agriculture

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Abstract

We consider a world in which the mode of food production, foraging or agriculture, is endogenous, and in which technology grows exogenously. Using a recent model of coalition formation, we allow individuals to rationally form cooperative communities (bands) of foragers or farmers. At the lowest levels of technology, equilibrium entails the grand coalition of foragers, a cooperative structure which avoids over-exploitation of the environment. But at a critical state of technology, the cooperative structure breaks down through an individually rational splintering of the band. At this stage there can be an increase in work and, through the over-exploitation of the environment, a food crisis. In the end, technological growth leads to a one-way transition from foraging to agriculture.

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File URL: http://www.sfu.ca/econ-research/RePEc/sfu/sfudps/dp00-07.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University in its series Discussion Papers with number dp00-07.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 2000
Date of revision: Feb 2000
Handle: RePEc:sfu:sfudps:dp00-07

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Postal: Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
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Web page: http://www.sfu.ca/economics.html
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Postal: Working Paper Coordinator, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
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  1. Brander, James A & Taylor, M Scott, 1998. "The Simple Economics of Easter Island: A Ricardo-Malthus Model of Renewable Resource Use," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 119-38, March.
  2. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  3. Smith, Vernon L, 1975. "The Primitive Hunter Culture, Pleistocene Extinction, and the Rise of Agriculture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(4), pages 727-55, August.
  4. Burbidge, John B. & James A. DePater & Gordon M. Meyers & Abhijit Sengupta, 1997. "A Coalition-Formation Approach to Equilibrium Federations and Trading Blocs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 940-56, December.
  5. Hart, Sergiu & Kurz, Mordecai, 1983. "Endogenous Formation of Coalitions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 1047-64, July.
  6. H. Lorne Carmichael & W. Bentley MacLeod, 1997. "Gift Giving and the Evolution of Cooperation," Boston College Working Papers in Economics, Boston College Department of Economics 338., Boston College Department of Economics.
  7. Ray, D. & Vohra, R., 1993. "Equilibrium Binding Agreements," Papers, Boston University - Department of Economics 21, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  8. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Peleg, Bezalel & Whinston, Michael D., 1987. "Coalition-Proof Nash Equilibria I. Concepts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-12, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Arthur J. Robson, 2007. "A 'Bioeconomic' View of the Neolithic and Recent Demographic Transitions," Discussion Papers, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University dp07-02, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
  2. Nicolas Marceau & Gordon Myers, 2006. "On the Early Holocene: Foraging to Early Agriculture," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(513), pages 751-772, 07.
  3. A. Muthoo, 2002. "A Model of the Origins of Basic Property Rights," Economics Discussion Papers, University of Essex, Department of Economics 546, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  4. Matthew J. Baker, 2005. "Technological Progress, Population Growth, Property Rights, and the Transition to Agriculture," Departmental Working Papers, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics 9, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
  5. Abdalla Mansour & Nicolas Marceau & Steeve Mongrain, 2001. "Gangs and Crime Deterrence," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal 138, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  6. Nils-Petter Lagerlof, 2002. "The Roads To and From Serfdom," GE, Growth, Math methods, EconWPA 0212002, EconWPA.

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