IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/sfu/sfudps/dp07-02.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A 'Bioeconomic' View of the Neolithic and Recent Demographic Transitions

Author

Abstract

The demographic transitions here are associated with: 1) The shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture. 2) The industrial revolution. There are puzzles associated with both of these. In the neolithic transition to agriculture, humans became less well-fed, smaller, more prone to disease and lived shorter lives. Why then was this new system chosen? During the second, or 'recent', transition, fertility fell markedly, despite an overall rise in income. Why did individuals not use the extra income to produce more offspring? The present paper develops simple models of choice of the quality and quantity of children, as would have been generated by human evolution, reproducing the key phenomena in these two transitions.

Suggested Citation

  • Arthur J. Robson, 2007. "A 'Bioeconomic' View of the Neolithic and Recent Demographic Transitions," Discussion Papers dp07-02, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
  • Handle: RePEc:sfu:sfudps:dp07-02
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sfu.ca/econ-research/RePEc/sfu/sfudps/dp07-02.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    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. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:26:y:2007:i:2:p:1-11 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, 1988. "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(1), pages 1-25.
    4. 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.
    5. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri, 2002. "The U.S. Demographic Transition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 153-159, May.
    6. Goldin, Claudia & Katz, Lawrence F, 1996. "Technology, Skill, and the Wage Structure: Insights from the Past," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 252-257, May.
    7. Rodrigo R. Soares, 2005. "Mortality Reductions, Educational Attainment, and Fertility Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 580-601, June.
    8. Chesnais, Jean-Claude, 1992. "The Demographic Transition: Stages, Patterns, and Economic Implications," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286592.
    9. Feinstein, Charles H., 1998. "Pessimism Perpetuated: Real Wages and the Standard of Living in Britain during and after the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(03), pages 625-658, September.
    10. Nicolas Marceau & Gordon M. Myers, 2000. "From Foraging to Agriculture," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 103, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
    11. Ronald Lee, 1987. "Population dynamics of humans and other animals," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 24(4), pages 443-465, November.
    12. Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2005. "From Foraging To Farming: Explaining The Neolithic Revolution," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(4), pages 561-586, September.
    13. 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.
    14. Arthur J. Robson & Hillard S. Kaplan, 2003. "The Evolution of Human Life Expectancy and Intelligence in Hunter-Gatherer Economies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 150-169, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Rodrigo R. Soares, 2005. "Mortality Reductions, Educational Attainment, and Fertility Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 580-601, June.
    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. Rodrigo R. Soares & Bruno L. S. Falcão, 2008. "The Demographic Transition and the Sexual Division of Labor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 1058-1104, December.
    4. Matthew Baker, 2008. "A structural model of the transition to agriculture," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 257-292, December.

    More about this item

    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:sfu:sfudps:dp07-02. 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: (Working Paper Coordinator). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/desfuca.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 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.

    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.