The Shadow of the Neolithic Revolution on Life Expectancy:  A Double-Edged Sword

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Raphael Franck, Oded Galor, Omer Moav, Ömer Özak


This research explores the persistent effect of the Neolithic Revolution on the evolution of life expectancy in the course of human history. It advances the hypothesis and establishes empirically that the onset of the Neolithic Revolution and the associated rise in infectious diseases triggered a process of adaptation reducing mortality from infectious diseases while increasing the propensity for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Exploiting an exogenous source of variation in the timing of the Neolithic Revolution across French regions, the analysis establishes the presence of these conflicting forces - the beneficial effects on life expectancy before the second epidemiological transition and their adverse effects thereafter.



Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment, Anthropology, Biological and Physical Anthropology, Congenital, Hereditary, and Neonatal Diseases and Abnormalities, Diseases, Economic History, Economics, Endocrine System Diseases, Growth and Development, Health Economics, Immune System Diseases, Labor Economics, Medicine and Health Sciences, Other Economics, Public Health, Regional Economics, Social and Behavioral Sciences


Allergies, Allergy, Auto-immune Disease, COVID-19, Crohn's Disease, Diabetes, economic development, Epidemiological Transition, health, HIV, Infectious disease, Life Expectancy, Mortality, Neolithic Revolution


Published: 2022-03-02 05:30


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