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

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References

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  1. Oded_Galor, 2004. "From Stagnation to Growth:Unified Growth Theory," Working Papers 2004-15, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
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  6. Azariadis, Costas, 1996. " The Economics of Poverty Traps: Part One: Complete Markets," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 449-96, December.
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  8. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2002. "Natural Selection And The Origin Of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1133-1191, November.
  9. Ulrich Woitek, 1998. "Height Cycles in the 18th and 19th Centuries," Working Papers, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow 9811, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
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  11. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Malthus to Solow," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1205-1217, September.
  12. Shekhar Aiyar & Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Omer Moav, 2008. "Technological progress and regress in pre-industrial times," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 125-144, June.
  13. Lagerl F, Nils-Petter, 2007. "Long-Run Trends In Human Body Mass," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(03), pages 367-387, June.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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, Program on the Global Demography of Aging 2207, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
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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. Brishti Guha & Ashok Guha, 2008. "Utility functions, future consumption targets and subsistence thresholds," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 4(30), pages 1-4.
  3. Oded Galor, 2009. "2008 Lawrence R. Klein Lecture –Comparative Economic Development: Insights from Unified Growth Theory," Working Papers 2009-10, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  4. Ashraf, Quamrul & Galor, Oded, 2008. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 7057, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Dietrich Vollrath, 2011. "The agricultural basis of comparative development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 343-370, December.
  6. Strulik, Holger, 2008. "A Note on Economic Growth with Subsistence Consumption," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP), Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät dp-405, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  7. Strulik, Holger, 2009. "Voracity and Growth Reconsidered," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Frankfurt a.M. 2009 36, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development 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), Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät dp-396, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.

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