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Inferreing Markets from Material Remains: Hirth’s Distributional Approach in the Light of Economic Theory

Author(s): Dragan Filipovich

Year: 2017

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Summary

Hirth 1998 proposed identifying archeologically the operation of mar-

kets in ancient societies by looking at the distribution patterns of selected

objects across households of different types. This paper revisits criti-

cally this so called `distributional approach' and argues that it essentially

amounts to a (failed) attempt at `estimating' a (say, Classic Maya) market

demand from archeologically recovered consumption data. Such an un-

dertaking, besides facing considerable identification problems which Hirth

1998 does not seem to be aware of, suffers from the fact that the diagnostic

feature on which it focuses (constant levels of, or expenditute shares on,

certain items) is surely not an appropriate test for the presence of mar-

kets. As an alternative, a more robust `linkage' test, still based on looking

at the material implications of households' decisions, and inspired by the

empirical literature that tests for separation in rural household-producers'

environments, is briefly outlined.


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Cite this Record

Inferreing Markets from Material Remains: Hirth’s Distributional Approach in the Light of Economic Theory. Dragan Filipovich. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429462)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Mesoamerica


Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15807

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America