A Western Reversal Since the Neolithic? The Long-Run Impact of Early Agriculture
Ola Olsson () and
Additional contact information
Christopher Paik: NYU Abu Dhabi
CAGE Online Working Paper Series from Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE)
While it is widely believed that regions which experienced a transition to Neolithic agriculture early also become institutionally and economically more advanced, many indicators suggest that within the Western agricultural core (including Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia), communities that adopted agriculture early in fact have weaker institutions and poorly functioning economies today. In the current paper, we attempt to integrate both of these trends in a coherent historical framework. Our main argument is that countries that made the transition early also tended to develop autocratic societies with social inequality and pervasive rent seeking, whereas later adopters were more likely to have egalitarian societies with stronger private property rights. These different institutional trajectories implied a gradual shift of dominance from the early civilizations towards regions in the periphery. We document this relative reversal within the Western core by showing a robust negative correlation between years since transition to agriculture and contemporary levels of income and institutional development, on both the national and the regional level. Our results further indicate that the reversal had become manifest already before the era of European colonization.
Keywords: Neolithic agriculture; comparative development (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (16) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/resear ... ations/139_olson.pdf
Working Paper: A Western Reversal since the Neolithic? The long-run impact of early agriculture (2013)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cge:wacage:139
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in CAGE Online Working Paper Series from Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE) Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Jane Snape ().