This paper dovetails with the premise of a post I wrote in the Forum awhile back about Göbekli Tepe. The archaeological site appears to confound the standard theory that cities (civilization) emerged from agricultural communities. Göbekli Tepe was an advanced city 10,000 years ago, but there is no evidence of prior or contemporary agriculture in the area.
Here’s the paper’s abstract:
A large literature characterizes urbanisation as resulting from productivity growth attracting rural workers to cities. Incorporating economic geography elements into a growth model, we suggest that causation runs the other way: when rural workers move to cities, the resulting urbanisation produces technological change and productivity growth. Urban density leads to knowledge exchange and innovation, thus creating a positive feedback loop between city size and productivity that initiates sustained economic growth. This model is consistent with the fact that urbanisation rates in Western Europe, most notably England, reached unprecedented levels by the mid-18th century, the eve of the Industrial Revolution.