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Early mortality declines at the dawn of modern growth

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  • BOUCEKKINE, Raouf
  • DE LA CROIX, David
  • LICANDRO, Omar

Abstract

We explore the hypothesis that demographic changes started in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are the root of the acceleration in growth rates at the dawn of the modern age. During this period, life tables for Geneva and Venice show a decline in adult mortality; French marriage registers show an important increase in literacy; historians measure an acceleration of economic growth. We develop an endogenous growth model with a realistic survival law in which rising longevity increases the individual incentive to invest in education and foster growth. We quantitatively estimate that the observed improvements in adult mortality account for 70% of the growth acceleration in the pre-industrial age.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9442.t01-2-00005
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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers RP with number -1681.

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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvrp:-1681

Note: In : Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 105(3), 401-418, 2003
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  1. Boucekkine, Raouf & de la Croix, David & Licandro, Omar, 2000. "Vintage Human Capital, Demographic Trends and Endogenous Growth," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2000007, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  2. Stokey, Nancy L., 2001. "A quantitative model of the British industrial revolution, 1780-1850," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 55-109, December.
  3. Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Was an Industrial Revolution Inevitable? Economic Growth Over the Very Long Run," NBER Working Papers 7375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Malthus to Solow," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1205-1217, September.
  5. Heckman, James J, 1976. "A Life-Cycle Model of Earnings, Learning, and Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S11-44, August.
  6. Galor, Oded & Weil, David, 1998. "Population, Technology and Growth: From the Malthusian Regime to the Demographic Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 1981, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Kalemli-Ozcan, Sebnem & Ryder, Harl E. & Weil, David N., 2000. "Mortality decline, human capital investment, and economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 1-23, June.
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