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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