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Property Rights, Warfare and the Neolithic Transition

  • Rowthorn, Robert
  • Seabright, Paul

This paper explains the multiple adoption of agriculture around ten thousand years ago, in spite of the fact that the first farmers suffered worse health and nutrition than their hunter gatherer predecessors. If output is harder for farmers to defend, adoption may entail increased defense investments, and equilibrium consumption levels may decline as agricultural productivity increases over a signi ficant range, before eventually increasing thereafter. Agricultural adoption may have been a prisoners’ dilemma in that adoption was individually attractive even though all groups would have been better off committing not to adopt while the initial productivity advantage of agriculture remained low.

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Paper provided by Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse in its series IDEI Working Papers with number 654.

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Date of creation: Nov 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:23850
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  1. Toke Skovsgaard Aidt, 2002. "Strategic Political Participation and Redistribution," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 19-40.
  2. Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2003. "From Foraging to Farming: Explaining the Neolithic Revolution," Discussion Papers 03-41, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jack Hirshleifer, 1989. "Conflict and rent-seeking success functions: Ratio vs. difference models of relative success," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 63(2), pages 101-112, November.
  5. Becker, Gary S, 1983. "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400, August.
  6. Nitzan, Shmuel, 1994. "Modelling rent-seeking contests," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 41-60, May.
  7. Francisco M. Gonzalez, 2005. "Insecure Property and Technological Backwardness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(505), pages 703-721, 07.
  8. Sung Ha Hwang, 2009. "Contest Success Functions: Theory and Evidence," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2009-04, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
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