IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/kud/kuiedp/0341.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

From Foraging to Farming: Explaining the Neolithic Revolution

Author

Listed:
  • Jacob L. Weisdorf

    (Institute of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

This paper reviews the main theories and evidence regarding the prehistoric shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture, an event which took place for the first time some 10,000 years ago. The transition, which is also known as the Neolithic Revolution, led to the rise of civilisation as we know it, and seems to have borne the seeds for the later process of industrialisation and for economic growth in general. The paper provides a brief historical survey of the leading hypotheses concerning the rise of agriculture proposed in the archaeological and anthropological literature. It then turns to a more detailed review of the theories proposed in the economic literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2003. "From Foraging to Farming: Explaining the Neolithic Revolution," Discussion Papers 03-41, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:0341
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/english/research/publications/wp/2003/0341.pdf/
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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.
    2. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2002. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1133-1191.
    3. Tamura, Robert, 2002. "Human capital and the switch from agriculture to industry," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 207-242, December.
    4. Jones Charles I., 2001. "Was an Industrial Revolution Inevitable? Economic Growth Over the Very Long Run," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-45, August.
    5. Olsson, Ola & Hibbs, Douglas Jr., 2005. "Biogeography and long-run economic development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 909-938, May.
    6. Kalemli-Ozcan, Sebnem, 2002. "Does the Mortality Decline Promote Economic Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 411-439, December.
    7. Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2004. "From stagnation to growth: Revisiting three historical regimes," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 17(3), pages 455-472, August.
    8. Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2003. "Stone Age Economics: The Origins of Agriculture and the Emergence of Non-Food Specialists," Discussion Papers 03-34, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    9. Kogel, Tomas & Prskawetz, Alexia, 2001. "Agricultural Productivity Growth and Escape from the Malthusian Trap," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 337-357, December.
    10. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 1999. "From Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 150-154, May.
    11. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
    12. Goodfriend, Marvin & McDermott, John, 1995. "Early Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 116-133, March.
    13. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Malthus to Solow," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1205-1217, September.
    14. Michael Kremer, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716.
    15. Olsson, Ola, 2001. "The Rise of Neolithic Agriculture," Working Papers in Economics 57, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    16. Douglass C. North & Robert Paul Thomas, 1977. "The First Economic Revolution," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 30(2), pages 229-241, May.
    17. Locay, Luis, 1989. "From Hunting and Gathering to Agriculture," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(4), pages 737-756, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Quamrul Ashraf & Stelios Michalopoulos, 2010. "The Climatic Origins of the Neolithic Revolution: Theory and Evidence," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0751, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    2. Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2006. "From domestic manufacture to Industrial Revolution: long-run growth and agricultural development," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 264-287, April.
    3. Nils-Petter Lagerlof, 2002. "The Roads To and From Serfdom," Macroeconomics 0212011, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Olsson, Ola & Hibbs, Douglas Jr., 2005. "Biogeography and long-run economic development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 909-938, May.
    5. Tamura, Robert, 2006. "Human capital and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 26-72, February.
    6. Rohan Dutta & David K. Levine & Nicholas W. Papageorge & Lemin Wu, 2018. "Entertaining Malthus: Bread, Circuses, And Economic Growth," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 56(1), pages 358-380, January.
    7. Nils‐Petter Lagerlöf, 2005. "Sex, equality, and growth," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 38(3), pages 807-831, August.
    8. Matthew Baker, 2008. "A structural model of the transition to agriculture," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 257-292, December.
    9. Matteo Cervellati & Uwe Sunde, 2005. "Human Capital Formation, Life Expectancy, and the Process of Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1653-1672, December.
    10. Dietrich Vollrath, 2009. "The dual economy in long-run development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 287-312, December.
    11. Matthias Doepke, 2004. "Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 347-383, September.
    12. Galindev, Ragchaasuren, 2008. "The Evolution of Population, Technology and Output," MPRA Paper 17116, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 22 Aug 2009.
    13. Cervellati, Matteo & Sunde, Uwe, 2007. "Human Capital, Mortality and Fertility: A Unified Theory of the Economic and Demographic Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers 6384, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Chu, Angus C., 2022. "From Neolithic Revolution to Industrialization," MPRA Paper 111835, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Luis Angeles, 2010. "Demographic transitions: analyzing the effects of mortality on fertility," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(1), pages 99-120, January.
    16. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2003-2041, August.
    17. Ashraf, Quamrul & Galor, Oded, 2008. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 7057, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    18. Edgar Vogel, 2009. "From Malthus to modern growth: child labor, schooling and human capital," MEA discussion paper series 09180, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    19. Lagerlof, Nils-Petter, 2003. "Gender Equality and Long-Run Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 403-426, December.
    20. Dietrich Vollrath, 2011. "The agricultural basis of comparative development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 343-370, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    agriculture; hunting-gathering; neolithic revolution; transition;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:0341. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/okokudk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Thomas Hoffmann (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/okokudk.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.