In this book Donald W. Jones presents a framework for how to approach four important topics that have held the attention of historians and archaeologists for decades. He offers intuitive but rigorous introductions to the contemporary economic theory dealing with agriculture, international trade, populations, and the behavior of aggregate economies. Models of agriculture deal with circumstances in which some important markets may be missing or operate with poor information. International trade can have numerous motivations and involve different or similar types of goods. The trade chapter presents a wide array of these motivations as well as models of how various trade policies operate. The population chapter offers a concise presentation of basic demographic theory then presents two major, economic approaches to fertility. Several models of the interaction between population growth and economic growth are presented. The behavior of aggregate economies, sometimes called macroeconomics, involves decisions implemented over time and involves changes in price levels and inflation, employment and unemployment, and interest rates. The chapter shows how autarkic and open-economy models operate. Familiarity with these models can guide thinking in data-poor as well as data-rich environments, generating nuanced insights into ancient economic behavior. Each chapter presents some case studies from the literature of antiquity showing how the economic models can offer additional insights and offers suggestions of topics that could be explored fruitfully with these models.
Donald W. Jones is an economist with academic, national laboratory, and private sector experience. He has published in Bronze Age and Early Iron Age archaeology of the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean. He is an adjunct professor of Classics at the University of Tennessee and teaches environmental economics at Loyola University Chicago.
‘Donald W. Jones provides a useful economic “toolbox” whereby these economies can be profitably studied. This is likely to be of interest to those working on traditional societies, especially in antiquity, regardless of the geographical specifics of their pursuits.’ Professor Michael Decker, University of South Florida