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Biogeography and Long-Run Economic Development

Ola Olsson () and Douglas Hibbs ()

No 26, Working Papers in Economics from University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics

Abstract: The transition from a hunter-gather economy to agricultural production, which made possible the endogenous technological progress that ultimately led to the industrial revolution, is one of the most important events in the thousands of years of humankind’s economic development. In this paper we present theory and evidence showing that exogenous geography and initial condition biogeography exerted decisive influence on the location and timing of transitions to sedentary agriculture, to complex social organization and, eventually, to modern industrial production. Evidence from a large cross-section of countries indicates that the effects of geographic and biogeographic endowments on contemporary levels of economic development are remarkably strong.

Keywords: Geography biogeography and growth; Economic development; Agricultural revolution; Institutions and growth; Plants animals and growth (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N10 N50 O10 O41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dev and nep-env
Date: 2000-06-19, Revised 2000-08-11
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Published in European Economic Review, 2005, pages 909-938.

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