Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers in Economics,
University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics

No 26: Biogeography and Long-Run Economic Development

Ola Olsson () and Douglas A. Hibbs Jr.
Additional contact information
Ola Olsson: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University, Postal: Department of Economics., School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University, Box 640, SE 40530 GÖTEBORG
Douglas A. Hibbs Jr.: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University, Postal: Department of Economics., School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University, Box 640, SE 40530 GÖTEBORG

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

JEL-codes: N10; N50; O10; O41

44 pages, First version: June 19, 2000. Revised: August 11, 2000.

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