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Cereals, appropriability, and hierarchy

Mayshar, Joram, Moav, Omer, Neeman, Zvika, Pascali, Luigi, (2015), “Cereals, appropriability, and hierarchy”, Voxeu, 11 Σεπτεμβρίου

Conventional theory suggests that hierarchy and state institutions emerged due to increased productivity following the Neolithic transition to farming. This column argues that these social developments were a result of an increase in the ability of both robbers and the emergent elite to appropriate crops. Hierarchy and state institutions developed, therefore, only in regions where appropriable cereal crops had sufficient productivity advantage over non-appropriable roots and tubers.

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