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Climatic Fluctuations and the Di¤usion of Agriculture

This research examines variations in the di¤usion of agriculture across countries and archaeological sites. The theory suggests that a society?s history of climatic shocks shaped the timing of its adoption of farming. Speci?cally, as long as climatic disturbances did not lead to a collapse of the underlying resource base, the rate at which foragers were climatically propelled to experiment with their habitats determined the accumulation of tacit knowledge complementary to farming. Thus, di¤erences in climatic volatility across hunter-gatherer societies gave rise to the observed spatial variation in the timing of the adoption of agriculture. Consistent with the proposed hypothesis, the empirical investigation demonstrates that, conditional on biogeographic endowments, climatic volatility has a non-monotonic e¤ect on the timing of the adoption of agriculture. Farming di¤used earlier across regions characterized by intermediate levels of climatic ?uctuations, with those subjected to either too high or too low intertemporal variability transiting later.

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Paper provided by Brown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2013-3.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2013-3
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912

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  6. Weisdorf, Jacob, 2009. "Why did the first farmers toil? Human metabolism and the origins of agriculture," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(02), pages 157-172, August.
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  15. Olsson, Ola, 2001. "The Rise of Neolithic Agriculture," Working Papers in Economics 57, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  16. Stelios Michalopoulos, 2009. "The Origins of Ethnolinguistic Diversity," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 110, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  17. Matthew Baker, 2008. "A structural model of the transition to agriculture," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 257-292, December.
  18. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2002. "Natural Selection And The Origin Of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1133-1191, November.
  19. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716, August.
  20. Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2003. "Stone Age Economics: The Origins of Agriculture and the Emergence of Non-Food Specialists," Discussion Papers 03-34, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  21. Olsson, Ola & Paik, Christopher, 2013. "A Western Reversal Since the Neolithic? The Long-Run Impact of Early Agriculture," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 139, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
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  24. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2007. "The Neolithic Revolution and Contemporary Variations in Life Expectancy," Working Papers 2007-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.
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