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Cereals, Appropriability and Hierarchy by Joram Mayshar, Omer Moav, Zvika Neeman, and Luigi Pascali

Wednesday 31 January 2018, 1.00PM to 2.00pm

Speaker(s): Omer Moav (Warwick)

Abstract: Conventional theory holds that hierarchies and states emerged following the Neolithic transition to agriculture as a result of increased land productivity, and that differences in land productivity explain differences in hierarchies between regions. We challenge this theory and propose that social hierarchy emerged where the elite were able to appropriate crops from farmers. In particular, we argue that cereals are easier to appropriate than most other foodstuffs. Therefore, regional variations in the suitability of land for the cultivation of different crop types can account for differences in the formation of hierarchies and states. Our empirical investigation supports such a causal effect of the cultivation of cereals on hierarchy, without finding a similar effect for land productivity.

Location: ARC014 ARRC Auditorium

Admission: All welcome