The Neolithic Revolution from a Price-Theoretic Perspective

27 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2010

See all articles by Ricardo Andres Guzman

Ricardo Andres Guzman

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jacob Louis Weisdorf

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics

Date Written: April, 27 2010

Abstract

The adoption of agriculture during the Neolithic period triggered the first demographic explosion in history. When fertility returned to its original level, agriculturalists were more numerous, more poorly nourished, and worked longer hours than their hunter-gatherer ancestors. We develop a dynamic price-theoretic model that rationalizes these events. In the short run, people are lured into agriculture by the increased labor productivity of both adults and children. In the long run, the growth in population overrides the productivity gains, and the later generations of agriculturalists end up being worse off than the hunter-gatherers. Counter-intuitively, the increase in the labor productivity of children causes the long-run reduction in welfare. In the long run, the increase in adult labor productivity only contributes to population growth.

Keywords: neolithic Revolution, hunter-gatherers, child labor, Thomas Malthus

Suggested Citation

Guzman, Ricardo Andres and Weisdorf, Jacob Louis, The Neolithic Revolution from a Price-Theoretic Perspective (April, 27 2010). Univ. of Copenhagen Dept. of Economics Discussion Paper No. 10-13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1596613 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1596613

Ricardo Andres Guzman

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Jacob Louis Weisdorf (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Bygning 26
1353 Copenhagen K.
Denmark

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