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Biogeographical conditions, the transition to agriculture and long-run growth

  • Bleaney, Michael
  • Dimico, Arcangelo

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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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014292111000304
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 55 (2011)
Issue (Month): 7 ()
Pages: 943-954

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:55:y:2011:i:7:p:943-954
DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2011.03.003
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

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  1. Alcala, Francisco & Ciccone, Antonio, 2001. "Trade and Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3095, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
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  5. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
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  7. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2003. "Institutions Don't Rule: Direct Effects of Geography on Per Capita Income," NBER Working Papers 9490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
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  11. Olsson, Ola & Hibbs, Douglas Jr., 2005. "Biogeography and long-run economic development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 909-938, May.
  12. 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.
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