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Journal of Economic Growth

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 27–53 | Cite as

Climate reversals and the transition to agriculture

  • Gregory K. Dow
  • Clyde G. ReedEmail author
  • Nancy Olewiler
Article

Abstract

The transition to agriculture is generally acknowledged to be the economic foundation for population growth over the last 10,000 years and for modern civilization itself. Dates for pristine transitions to agriculture have become a key input into empirical work on economic growth over the very long run. We propose a model of the transition in which population and technology respond endogenously to climate. The available data on the southwest Asian case, other cases of pristine transition, and cases of non-transition are consistent with our model, but often inconsistent with rival explanations. In addition, our theory of the origins of agriculture has implications for instrumental variable strategies that can be used in empirical research on long run economic growth and development.

Keywords

Origin of agriculture Origin of cultivation Prehistory Economic growth Economic development Technology Technological change Population dynamics Climate change Foraging Hunting and gathering Archaeology Anthropology Neolithic Revolution 

JEL Classification

O10 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregory K. Dow
    • 1
  • Clyde G. Reed
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nancy Olewiler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

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