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On the Early Holocene: Foraging to Early Agriculture

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  • Nicolas Marceau
  • Gordon Myers

Abstract

We consider a world in which the mode of food production, foraging or agriculture, is endogenous, and in which technology grows exogenously. Within a 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 may lead to a one-way transition from foraging to agriculture.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas Marceau & Gordon Myers, 2005. "On the Early Holocene: Foraging to Early Agriculture," Cahiers de recherche 0502, CIRPEE.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0502
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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 119-138, March.
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    5. Nicolas Marceau & Gordon M. Myers, 2000. "From Foraging to Agriculture," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 103, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
    6. Matthew J. Baker, 2003. "An Equilibrium Conflict Model of Land Tenure in Hunter-Gatherer Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(1), pages 124-173, February.
    7. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1995. "Anarchy and Its Breakdown," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 26-52, February.
    8. Ray, Debraj & Vohra, Rajiv, 1999. "A Theory of Endogenous Coalition Structures," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 286-336, January.
    9. Hart, Sergiu & Kurz, Mordecai, 1983. "Endogenous Formation of Coalitions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 1047-1064, July.
    10. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2007. "Made for Toil: Natural selection at the dawn of agriculture," Working Papers halshs-00587788, HAL.
    2. Guzmán, Ricardo Andrés, 2007. "Many hands make hard work, or why agriculture is not a puzzle," MPRA Paper 4148, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 08 Aug 2007.
    3. 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.
    4. Matthew Baker, 2008. "A structural model of the transition to agriculture," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 257-292, December.
    5. Weisdorf, Jacob, 2009. "Why did the first farmers toil? Human metabolism and the origins of agriculture," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(02), pages 157-172, August.
    6. Guzmán, Ricardo Andrés & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2011. "The Neolithic Revolution from a price-theoretic perspective," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 209-219, November.
    7. Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2007. "Made for Toil: Natural selection at the dawn of agriculture," PSE Working Papers halshs-00587788, HAL.
    8. Quamrul Ashraf & Stelios Michalopoulos, 2015. "Climatic Fluctuations and the Diffusion of Agriculture," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(3), pages 589-609, July.
    9. Gregory K. Dow & Nancy Olewiler & Clyde G. Reed, 2005. "The Transition to Agriculture: Climate Reversals, Population Density, and Technical Change," Economic History 0509003, EconWPA.
    10. Lagerl F, Nils-Petter, 2007. "Long-Run Trends In Human Body Mass," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(03), pages 367-387, June.
    11. Horan, Richard D. & Shogren, Jason F. & Bulte, Erwin H., 2008. "Competitive Exclusion, Diversification, and the Origins of Agriculture," 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida 6410, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    12. Bulte, Erwin H. & Horan, Richard D. & Shogren, Jason F., 2006. "Coevolutionary Investments in Human Speech and Trade," 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA 21318, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    13. Horan, Richard D. & Shogren, Jason F. & Bulte, Erwin H., 2011. "Joint determination of biological encephalization, economic specialization," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 426-439, May.
    14. Richard Horan & Erwin Bulte & Jason Shogren, 2008. "Coevolution of human speech and trade," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 293-313, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Foraging; Agriculture; Transition; Coalition Formation; Cooperation;

    JEL classification:

    • N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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