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

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References

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  1. Fogel, Robert W., 1993. "Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1993-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
  2. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2004. "Natural Selection and the Evolution of Life Expectancy," GE, Growth, Math methods 0409004, EconWPA.
  3. Aiyar, Shekhar & Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Moav, Omer, 2006. "Technological Progress and Regress in Pre-Industrial Times," CEPR Discussion Papers 5454, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Oded Galor, 2004. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," GE, Growth, Math methods 0409003, EconWPA.
  5. 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.
  6. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2001. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2727, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 1998. "Malthus to Solow," NBER Working Papers 6858, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
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  12. Lagerl F, Nils-Petter, 2007. "Long-Run Trends In Human Body Mass," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(03), pages 367-387, June.
  13. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2004. "From Physical to Human Capital Accumulation: Inequality and the Process of Development," GE, Growth, Math methods 0410005, EconWPA.
  14. Azariadis, Costas, 1996. " The Economics of Poverty Traps: Part One: Complete Markets," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 449-96, December.
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  16. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Strulik, Holger, 2008. "A Note on Economic Growth with Subsistence Consumption," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-405, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  3. Strulik, Holger, 2008. "Voracity and Growth Reconsidered," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-401, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  4. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2008. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusain Epoch: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2008-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  5. Brishti Guha & Ashok Guha, 2008. "Utility functions, future consumption targets and subsistence thresholds," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 4(30), pages 1-4.
  6. Strulik, Holger, 2012. "Patience and prosperity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(1), pages 336-352.
  7. Olsson, Ola, 2008. "Resource Conflict in Vulnerable Environments: Three Models Applied to Darfur," Working Papers in Economics 325, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  8. Dietrich Vollrath, 2011. "The agricultural basis of comparative development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 343-370, December.
  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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