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From Foraging to Agriculture

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Abstract

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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  • Nicolas Marceau & Gordon M. Myers, 2000. "From Foraging to Agriculture," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 103, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  • Handle: RePEc:cre:crefwp:103
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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 727-755, August.
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    3. Burbidge, John B. & James A. DePater & Gordon M. Meyers & Abhijit Sengupta, 1997. "A Coalition-Formation Approach to Equilibrium Federations and Trading Blocs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 940-956, December.
    4. Carmichael, H Lorne & MacLeod, W Bentley, 1997. "Gift Giving and the Evolution of Cooperation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(3), pages 485-509, August.
    5. Ray, Debraj & Vohra, Rajiv, 1997. "Equilibrium Binding Agreements," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 30-78, March.
    6. Hart, Sergiu & Kurz, Mordecai, 1983. "Endogenous Formation of Coalitions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 1047-1064, July.
    7. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
    8. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicolas Marceau & Gordon Myers, 2006. "On the Early Holocene: Foraging to Early Agriculture," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(513), pages 751-772, July.
    2. Matthew J. Baker, 2005. "Technological Progress, Population Growth, Property Rights, and the Transition to Agriculture," Departmental Working Papers 9, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
    3. Nils-Petter Lagerlof, 2002. "The Roads To and From Serfdom," GE, Growth, Math methods 0212002, EconWPA.
    4. Arthur J. Robson, 2007. "A 'Bioeconomic' View of the Neolithic and Recent Demographic Transitions," Discussion Papers dp07-02, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
    5. Abdala Mansour & Nicolas Marceau & Steeve Mongrain, 2006. "Gangs and Crime Deterrence," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(2), pages 315-339, October.
    6. Muthoo, Abhinay, 2004. "A model of the origins of basic property rights," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 288-312, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Foraging; Agriculture; Transition; Coalition Formation; Cooperation;

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • N5 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation

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