IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Technological Progress, Population Growth, Property Rights, and the Transition to Agriculture

  • Matthew J. Baker

    ()

    (United States Naval Academy)

Following the rapidly growing literature on the Neolithic revolution, I develop a model of mankind’s initial transition to agriculture in which population and technological sophistication are both endogenous variables. I assume that total factor productivity in both agriculture and hunting and gathering depend on natural resource endowments and a general purpose technology, but that TFP in agriculture is relatively more dependent on technological sophistication than TFP in hunting and gathering, and that agriculture requires effort be expended in land enclosure. The model describes combinations of population pressure, technological sophistication, and resource endowments that are sufficient to generate a switch to agriculture and enclosure, but also admits the possibility that no switch will occur. I estimate the steady-state relationships of the model by applying a two-state, two-equation model with endogenous regime switching using information on the incidence of agriculture, population density, technology, and environment among 186 pre-modern societies. I find that habitat diversity, a relatively flat landscape, and exceptionally heavy rainfall are among factors contributing to total factor productivity in hunting and gathering, while soil quality, climate suitability and proximity to an ocean increase total factor productivity in agriculture. I also estimate that roughly ten percent of TFP in agriculture can be attributed to technological sophistication, while TFP in hunting and gathering is not influenced by technology. Among other things, I find evidence that endogenous growth effects may be responsible for approximately 40% of observed technological sophistication among agricultural societies, but do not appear important among hunter-gatherers

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.usna.edu/EconDept/RePEc/usn/wp/usnawp9.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by United States Naval Academy Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 9.

as
in new window

Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:usn:usnawp:9
Contact details of provider: Postal: 589 McNair Road, Annapolis, MD 21402-5030
Phone: (410) 293-6800
Fax: (410) 293-6899
Web page: http://www.usna.edu/EconDept/

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Arthur J. Robson, 2007. "A 'Bioeconomic' View of the Neolithic and Recent Demographic Transitions," Discussion Papers dp07-02, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
  2. Skaperdas, Stergios, 1992. "Cooperation, Conflict, and Power in the Absence of Property Rights," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 720-39, September.
  3. Galor, Oded & Weil, David, 1999. "From Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2082, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Locay, Luis, 1989. "From Hunting and Gathering to Agriculture," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(4), pages 737-56, July.
  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. Baker, Matthew & Miceli, Thomas J., 2005. "Land inheritance rules: theory and cross-cultural analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 77-102, January.
  7. Locay, Luis, 1997. "Population equilibrium in primitive societies," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 747-767.
  8. Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2003. "From Foraging to Farming: Explaining the Neolithic Revolution," Discussion Papers 03-41, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  9. Olsson, Ola, 2001. "The Rise of Neolithic Agriculture," Working Papers in Economics 57, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  10. Olsson, Ola & Hibbs, Douglas Jr., 2005. "Biogeography and long-run economic development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 909-938, May.
  11. Galor, Oded & Weil, David N, 1996. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 374-87, June.
  12. Douglas A Hibbs, Jr. & Ola Olsson, 2003. "Geography, Biogeography and the International Distribution of Prosperity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 666156000000000001, David K. Levine.
  13. 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.
  14. de Meza, David & Gould, J R, 1992. "The Social Efficiency of Private Decisions to Enforce Property Rights," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 561-80, June.
  15. 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.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:usn:usnawp:9. 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: ()

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.