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A Bioeconomic Foundation of the Malthusian Equilibrium: Body Size and Population Size in the Long-Run

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  • Dalgaard, Carl-Johan
  • Strulik, Holger

Abstract

This paper develops a bioeconomic Malthusian growth model. By integrating recent research on allometric scaling, energy consumption and ontogenetic growth, we provide a model where subsistence consumption is endogenously linked to body size and fertility. The theory admits a unique Malthusian equilibrium in a two-dimensional state space characterized by population density and body size (metabolic rate) of the representative adult. As a result, the analysis allows us to examine the link between human biology, economic productivity, body size, and population size. Off the steady-state we investigate the possibility of cyclical behavior of the size of a population and the size of its representative member over the very long-run. We also demonstrate that a take-off into sustained growth should be associated with increasing income, population size and body size. The increase in the latter is, however, bounded and can be viewed as convergence to a biologically determined upper limit.

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File URL: http://diskussionspapiere.wiwi.uni-hannover.de/pdf_bib/dp-373.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät in its series Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) with number dp-373.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:han:dpaper:dp-373

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Related research

Keywords: Subsistence; Nutrition; Metabolism; Population Growth; Ontogenetic Growth; Malthus;

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References

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  1. Galor, Oded, 2004. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 4581, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2006. "Natural Selection and the Evolution of Life Expectancy," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_062, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  3. Oded Galor & David N. Weil, 1998. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From the Malthusian Regime to the Demographic Transition," Working Papers 98-1, Brown University, Department of Economics, revised 19 Aug 1998.
  4. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2004. "From Physical to Human Capital Accumulation: Inequality and the Process of Development," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 1001-1026.
  5. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2001. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2727, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  7. Costas Azariadis, 1996. "The Economics of Poverty Traps Part One: Complete Markets," Working Papers 9606, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  8. Arthur J. Robson & Hillard S. Kaplan, 2003. "The Evolution of Human Life Expectancy and Intelligence in Hunter-Gatherer Economies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 150-169, March.
  9. Woitek, Ulrich, 2003. "Height cycles in the 18th and 19th centuries," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 243-257, June.
  10. Lagerl F, Nils-Petter, 2007. "Long-Run Trends In Human Body Mass," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(03), pages 367-387, June.
  11. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 1999. "Malthus to Solow," Staff Report 257, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  12. Shekhar Aiyar & Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Omer Moav, 2008. "Technological progress and regress in pre-industrial times," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 125-144, June.
  13. Köpke, Nikola & Baten, Jörg, 2003. "The biological standard of living in Europe during the last two millennia," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 265, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
  14. Robert W. Fogel, 1994. "Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy," NBER Working Papers 4638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Yoko Akachi & David Canning, 2007. "The Height of Women in Sub-Saharan Africa: the Role of Health, Nutrition, and Income in Childhood," PGDA Working Papers 2207, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  16. Fogel, Robert William, 1993. "New findings on secular trends in nutrition and mortality: Some implications for population theory," Handbook of Population and Family Economics, in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 433-481 Elsevier.
  17. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Strulik, Holger, 2012. "Patience and prosperity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(1), pages 336-352.
  2. Galor, Oded, 2009. "2008 Lawrence R. Klein Lecture -- Comparative Economic Development: Insights from Unified Growth Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 7519, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Strulik, Holger, 2008. "Voracity and Growth Reconsidered," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-401, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  4. Brishti Guha & Ashok Guha, 2008. "Utility functions, future consumption targets and subsistence thresholds," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 4(30), pages 1-4.
  5. Strulik, Holger, 2010. "A Note On Economic Growth With Subsistence Consumption," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(05), pages 763-771, November.
  6. Dietrich Vollrath, 2011. "The agricultural basis of comparative development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 343-370, December.
  7. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2008. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusain Epoch: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2008-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  8. Olsson, Ola, 2008. "Resource Conflict in Vulnerable Environments: Three Models Applied to Darfur," Working Papers in Economics 325, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  9. Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Strulik, Holger, 2008. "A Bioeconomic Foundation for the Nutrition-based Efficiency Wage Model," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-396, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.

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