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From Foraging to Agriculture

Nicolas Marceau () and Gordon Myers

No 103, Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers from CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal

Abstract: We consider a world in which the mode of food production, foraging or agriculture, is endogenous, and in which technology grows exogenously. Using a recent model of coalition formation, we allow individuals to rationally form cooperative communities (bands) of foragers or farmers. At the lowest levels of technology, equilibrium entails the grand coalition of foragers, a cooperative structure which avoids over-exploitation of the environment. But at a critical state of technology, the cooperative structure breaks down through an individually rational splintering of the band. At this stage, there can be an increase in work and through the over-exploitation of the environment, a food crisis. In the end, technological growth leads to a one-way transition from foraging to agriculture. Nous étudions un monde dans lequel le choix du mode de production --- chasse et cueillette ou agriculture --- est endogène et dans lequel il y a progrès technologique exogène. Nous utilisons un modèle de formation des coalitions développé récemment. Dans ce cadre, les individus peuvent former des communautés (ou bandes) de chasseurs/cueilleurs ou de fermiers dans lesquelles ils coopèrent. Lorsque la technologie est peu avancée, une grande bande de chasseurs/cueilleurs se forme à l'équilibre, ce qui assure que l'environnement n'est pas sur-exploité. Mais à un niveau technologique plus avancé, cette structure coopérative se brise parce qu'il devient rentable pour certains individus de produire seul. Il est alors possible que tous travaillent plus et que malgré tout, une crise alimentaire survienne due à la sur-exploitation de l'environnement. Éventuellement, le progrès technologique conduit à une transition de la chasse et la cueillette à l'agriculture.

Keywords: Foraging; Agriculture; Transition; Coalition Formation; Cooperation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D7 N5 Q2 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 32 pages
Date: 2000-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (7) Track citations by RSS feed

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