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From Foraging to Agriculture

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. Nous étudions un monde dans lequel le choix du mode de production --- chasse et cueillette ou agriculture --- est endogène et dans lequel il y a progrès technologique exogène. Nous utilisons un modèle de formation des coalitions développé récemment. Dans ce cadre, les individus peuvent former des communautés (ou bandes) de chasseurs/cueilleurs ou de fermiers dans lesquelles ils coopèrent. Lorsque la technologie est peu avancée, une grande bande de chasseurs/cueilleurs se forme à l'équilibre, ce qui assure que l'environnement n'est pas sur-exploité. Mais à un niveau technologique plus avancé, cette structure coopérative se brise parce qu'il devient rentable pour certains individus de produire seul. Il est alors possible que tous travaillent plus et que malgré tout, une crise alimentaire survienne due à la sur-exploitation de l'environnement. Éventuellement, le progrès technologique conduit à une transition de la chasse et la cueillette à l'agriculture.

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Paper provided by CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal in its series Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers with number 103.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cre:crefwp:103
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  1. John B. Burbidge & James A. DePater & Gordon M. Myers & Abhijit Sengupta, 1996. "A Coalition-formation Approach to Equilibrium Federations and Trading Block s," Department of Economics Working Papers 1996-05, McMaster University.
  2. Ray, Debraj & Vohra, Rajiv, 1997. "Equilibrium Binding Agreements," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 30-78, March.
  3. H. Lorne Carmichael & W. Bentley MacLeod, 1997. "Gift Giving and the Evolution of Cooperation," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 338., Boston College Department of Economics.
  4. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Peleg, Bezalel & Whinston, Michael D., 1987. "Coalition-Proof Nash Equilibria I. Concepts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-12, June.
  5. Smith, Vernon L, 1975. "The Primitive Hunter Culture, Pleistocene Extinction, and the Rise of Agriculture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(4), pages 727-55, August.
  6. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  7. Hart, Sergiu & Kurz, Mordecai, 1983. "Endogenous Formation of Coalitions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 1047-64, July.
  8. 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, vol. 88(1), pages 119-38, March.
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