Geography, Biogeography and Why Some Countries are Rich and Others Poor

Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the US Vol.101, No.10, March 9, 2004, 3715-3720

24 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2008

See all articles by Douglas A. Hibbs

Douglas A. Hibbs

University of Gothenburg - Center for Public Sector Research (CEFOS)

Ola Olsson

University of Gothenburg

Abstract

The most important event in human economic history before the Industrial Revolution was the Neolithic transition from a nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle to sedentary agriculture, beginning about 10,000 years ago. The transition made possible the human population explosion, the rise of non-food-producing specialists, and the acceleration of technological progress that led eventually to the Industrial Revolution. But the transition occurred at different times in different regions of the world, with big consequences for the present-day economic conditions of populations indigenous to each region. In this paper we show that differences in biogeographic initial conditions and in geography largely account for the different timings of the Neolithic transition, and thereby ultimately help account for the 100-fold differences among the prosperity of nations today. The effects of biogeography and geography on the wealth of nations are partly mediated by the quality of present-day institutions, but are also partly independent of institutional quality.

Keywords: Neolithic transtion, agriculture and development, geography and biogeography and development, institutions and development

JEL Classification: N10, O1, O3, O4, O5, Q1

Suggested Citation

Hibbs, Douglas A. and Olsson, Ola, Geography, Biogeography and Why Some Countries are Rich and Others Poor. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the US Vol.101, No.10, March 9, 2004, 3715-3720, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=609561

Douglas A. Hibbs (Contact Author)

University of Gothenburg - Center for Public Sector Research (CEFOS) ( email )

Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.douglas-hibbs.com/

Ola Olsson

University of Gothenburg ( email )

Vasagatan 1
Goteborg, 405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/econolaols/home

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