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Cereals, Appropriability and Hierarchy

Author

Listed:
  • Mayshar, Joram
  • Moav, Omer
  • Neeman, Zvika
  • Pascali, Luigi

Abstract

We propose that the development of social hierarchy following the Neolithic Revolution was an outcome of the ability of the emergent elite to appropriate cereal crops from farmers and not a result of land productivity, as argued by conventional theory. We argue that cereals are easier to appropriate than roots and tubers, and that regional differences in the suitability of land for different crops explain therefore differences in the formation of hierarchy and states. A simple model illustrates our main theoretical argument. Our empirical investigation shows that land suitability for cereals relative to suitability for tubers explains the formation of hierarchical institutions and states, whereas land productivity does not.

Suggested Citation

  • Mayshar, Joram & Moav, Omer & Neeman, Zvika & Pascali, Luigi, 2015. "Cereals, Appropriability and Hierarchy," CEPR Discussion Papers 10742, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10742
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James Fenske, 2014. "Ecology, Trade, And States In Pre-Colonial Africa," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 612-640, June.
    2. Anastasia Litina, 2014. "The Geographical Origins of Early State Formation," CREA Discussion Paper Series 14-28, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

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    1. Ethnographic Atlas
      by Masa in Devecondata on 2016-05-04 19:12:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Mehrdad Vahabi, 2017. "A critical survey of the resource curse literature through the appropriability lens," CEPN Working Papers 2017-14, Centre d'Economie de l'Université de Paris Nord.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:111:y:2017:i:03:p:622-636_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Giampaolo Lecce & Laura Ogliari & Tommaso Orlando, 2017. "Resistance to Institutions and Cultural Distance: Brigandage in Post-Unification Italy," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2097, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    4. Dittmar, Jeremiah & Meisenzahl, Ralf, 2017. "State Capacity and Public Goods: Institutional Change, Human Capital, and Growth in Historic Germany," CEPR Discussion Papers 12037, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Athey, Susan & Calvano, Emilio & Jha, Saumitra, 2016. "A Theory of Community Formation and Social Hierarchy," Research Papers 3467, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    6. Oded Galor & Marc Klemp, 2015. "Roots of Autocracy," Working Papers 2015-7, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    7. Ang, James B. & Fredriksson, Per G., 2017. "Wheat agriculture and family ties," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 236-256.
    8. Hugh-Jones, David & Perroni, Carlo, 2017. "The logic of costly punishment reversed: Expropriation of free-riders and outsiders," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 112-130.
    9. Mayshar, Joram & Moav, Omer & Neeman, Zvika, 2017. "Geography, Transparency, and Institutions," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 111(03), pages 622-636, August.
    10. repec:kap:jecgro:v:23:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10887-017-9152-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Ernesto Dal Bó & Pablo Hernández & Sebastián Mazzuca, 2015. "The Paradox of Civilization: Pre-Institutional Sources of Security and Prosperity," NBER Working Papers 21829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Oded Galor & Viacheslav Savitskiy, 2018. "Climatic Roots of Loss Aversion," Working Papers 2018-1, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    13. repec:nea:journl:y:2017:i:34:p:176-181 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Oana Borcan & Ola Olsson & Louis Putterman, 2018. "State history and economic development: evidence from six millennia," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 1-40, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    geography; hierarchy; institutions; state capacity;

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth

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