Every week, the Economics Group of King's Business School organises research seminars in economics. Bi-weekly the seminars are organised together with the Department of Political Economy and International Development. These seminars will take place on Wednesdays from 12.00 - 1.30 pm in Bush House, room (South) 3.01.
This week we welcome Luigi Pascali (Universitat Pompeu Fabra).
"Cereals, Appropriability and Hierarchy"
According to conventional theory, hierarchies and states were formed following the Neolithic Revolution because the increase in land productivity generated a food surplus. Regional differences in state hierarchies are therefore explained by differences in land productivity. We challenge this productivity-and-surplus theory, proposing that differences in appropriability, and not in productivity, account for differences in hierarchy between regions. To test our proposition, we follow the claim that cereals are easier to appropriate than most other crops. Utilizing several data sets, spanning several millennia, we find that the causal effect of the cultivation of cereals on hierarchy is significant, and leaves nothing that can be explained by land productivity per se.