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

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.

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File URL: http://www.sfu.ca/econ-research/RePEc/sfu/sfudps/dp07-02.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University in its series Discussion Papers with number dp07-02.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sfu:sfudps:dp07-02
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
Phone: (778)782-3508
Fax: (778)782-5944
Web page: http://www.sfu.ca/economics.html

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Order Information: Postal: Working Paper Coordinator, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
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  1. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, . "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 85-11, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  2. Rodrigo R. Soares, 2004. "Mortality Reductions, Educational Attainment, and Fertility Choice," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 9, Econometric Society.
  3. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2000. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," Arbetsrapport 2000:5, Institute for Futures Studies.
  4. Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2003. "From Foraging to Farming: Explaining the Neolithic Revolution," Discussion Papers 03-41, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  5. 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.
  6. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri, 2002. "The US Demographic Transition," RCER Working Papers 487, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  7. Nicolas Marceau & Gordon M. Myers, 2000. "From Foraging to Agriculture," Discussion Papers dp00-07, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, revised Feb 2000.
  8. Ronald Lee, 1987. "Population dynamics of humans and other animals," Demography, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 443-465, November.
  9. 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.
  10. 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 252-57, May.
  11. 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.
  12. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:26:y:2007:i:2:p:1-11 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. 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 727-55, August.
  14. Chesnais, Jean-Claude, 1992. "The Demographic Transition: Stages, Patterns, and Economic Implications," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286592, March.
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