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Biogeography and Long-Run Economic Development

  • Olsson, Ola


    (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

  • Hibbs Jr., Douglas A.

    (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

The transition from a hunter-gather economy to agricultural production, which made possible the endogenous technological progress that ultimately led to the industrial revolution, is one of the most important events in the thousands of years of humankind’s economic development. In this paper we present theory and evidence showing that exogenous geography and initial condition biogeography exerted decisive influence on the location and timing of transitions to sedentary agriculture, to complex social organization and, eventually, to modern industrial production. Evidence from a large cross-section of countries indicates that the effects of geographic and biogeographic endowments on contemporary levels of economic development are remarkably strong.

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Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 26.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 19 Jun 2000
Date of revision: 11 Aug 2000
Publication status: Published in European Economic Review, 2005, pages 909-938.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0026
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden
Phone: 031-773 10 00
Web page:

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