Climatic Fluctuations and the Diffusion of Agriculture
This research examines the climatic origins of the diffusion of Neolithic agriculture across countries and archaeological sites. The theory suggests that a foraging society s history of climatic shocks shaped the timing of its adoption of farming. Specifically, as long as climatic disturbances did not lead to a collapse of the underlying resource base, the rate at which hunter-gatherers were climatically propelled to experiment with their habitats determined the accumulation of tacit knowledge complementary to farming. Consistent with the proposed hypothesis, the empirical investigation demonstrates that, conditional on biogeographic endowments, climatic volatility has a hump-shaped effect on the timing of the adoption of agriculture.
We thank the editor, Philippe Aghion, two anonymous referees, Ofer Bar-Yosef, Gregory Dow, Oded Galor, Nippe Lagerlöf, Ashley Lester, Yannis Ioannides, Clyde Reed, David Weil, and seminar participants at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Brown University, the First and Second Conferences on Early Economic Developments, the 2010 DEGIT XV Conference, and the 2011 Annual Conference of the Royal Economic Society for their comments and suggestions. Ashraf gratefully acknowledges research support from the Hellman Fellows Program and from the National Science Foundation (SES-1338738). This paper was partly written while Ashraf was visiting Harvard Kennedy School and the Center for International Development at Harvard University. All errors are ours. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Quamrul Ashraf & Stelios Michalopoulos, 2015. "Climatic Fluctuations and the Diffusion of Agriculture," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(3), pages 589-609, July. citation courtesy of