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Land Productivity and Economic Development: Caloric Suitability vs. Agricultural Suitability

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  • Oded Galor
  • Omer Ozak

Abstract

This paper establishes that the Caloric Suitability Index (CSI) dominates the commonly used measure of agricultural suitability in the examination of the effect of land productivity on comparative economic development. The analysis demonstrates that the agricultural suitability index does not capture the large variation in the potential caloric yield across equally suitable land, reflecting the fact that land suitable for agriculture is not necessarily suitable for the most caloric-intensive crops. Hence, in light of the instrumental role played by caloric yield in sustaining and supporting population growth, and given importance of pre-industrial population density for the subsequent course of economic development, the Caloric Suitability Index dominates the conventional measure in capturing the effect of land productivity on pre-colonial population density and the subsequent course of economic development.

Suggested Citation

  • Oded Galor & Omer Ozak, 2015. "Land Productivity and Economic Development: Caloric Suitability vs. Agricultural Suitability," Working Papers 2015-5, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2015-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2003-2041, August.
    2. Oded Galor & Ömer Özak, 2016. "The Agricultural Origins of Time Preference," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(10), pages 3064-3103, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Assaf Sarid & Oded Galor, "undated". "Geographical Origins and Economic Consequences of Language Structures," Working Papers WP2017/4, University of Haifa, Department of Economics.
    2. Arbatli, Cemal Eren & Gomtsyan, David, 2019. "Voting retrospectively: Critical junctures and party identification," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 356-390.
    3. Emilio Depetris-Chauvin & Ömer Özak, 2016. "The Origins and Long-Run Consequences of the Division of Labor," Departmental Working Papers 1610, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
    4. Emilio Depetris-Chauvin & Ömer Özak, 2018. "The Origins of the Division of Labor in Pre-modern Times," Departmental Working Papers 1803, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
    5. David Castells-Quintana & Vicente Royuela, 2017. "Tracking positive and negative effects of inequality on long-run growth," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 53(4), pages 1349-1378, December.
    6. Paul Minard, 2020. "Institutions and China's comparative development," Papers 2001.02804, arXiv.org.
    7. Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio & Özak, Ömer, 2015. "Population Diversity, Division of Labor and the Emergence of Trade and State," MPRA Paper 69565, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Emilio Depetris-Chauvin & Ömer Özak, 2016. "Population Diversity, Division of Labor and Comparative Development," Departmental Working Papers 1605, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
    9. Ang, James B. & Gupta, Satyendra Kumar, 2018. "Agricultural yield and conflict," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 397-417.
    10. Flückiger, Matthias & Ludwig, Markus, 2018. "Geography, human capital and urbanization: A regional analysis," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 10-14.
    11. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2018. "Spatial Patterns of Development: A Meso Approach," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 10(1), pages 383-410, August.
    12. de la Croix, David & Gobbi, Paula E., 2017. "Population density, fertility, and demographic convergence in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 13-24.
    13. Emilio Depetris-Chauvin & Ömer Özak, 2020. "Borderline Disorder: (De facto) Historical Ethnic Borders and Contemporary Conflict in Africa," Departmental Working Papers 2004, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
    14. Carillo, Mario Francesco, 2018. "Agricultural policy and long-run development: evidence from Mussolini's Battle for Grain," MPRA Paper 88941, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Meinzer, Nicholas J., 2018. "Persisting patterns of human height? Regional differences in living standards in the Early Middle Ages," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 148-167.
    16. Stelios Michalopoulos & Melanie Meng Xue, 2019. "Folklore," NBER Working Papers 25430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Assaf Sarid & Oded Galor, "undated". "Geographical Origins and Economic Consequences of Language Structures," Working Papers WP2017/4, University of Haifa, Department of Economics.
    18. Fabian Wahl, 2017. "Does European development have Roman roots? Evidence from the German Limes," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 313-349, September.
    19. Oded Galor & Omer Ozak & Assaf Sarid, 2016. "Origins and Consequences of Lanquage Structures," Working Papers 2016-7, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    20. Thilo R. Huning & Fabian Wahl, 2016. "You Reap What You Know: Observability of Soil Quality, and Political Fragmentation," Working Papers 0101, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    21. Negi, D., 2018. "Geography and the Welfare Impact of Food Price Shock," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277150, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    22. Matthew Delventhal, 2019. "The Globe as a Network: Geography and the Origins of the World Income Distribution," 2019 Meeting Papers 840, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Caloric Suitability; Agricultural Suitability; Agricultural Productivity; Land Productivity; Economic Development; Population Density;

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General

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