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Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy

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  • Robert W. Fogel

Abstract

This paper sketches a theory of the secular decline in morbidity and mortality that takes account of changes in human physiology since 1700. The synergism between technological and physiological improvements has produced a form of human evolution, much more rapid than natural selection, which is still ongoing in both OECD and developing countries. Thermodynamic and physiological aspects of economic growth are defined and their impact on growth rates is assessed. Implications of this theory for population forecasting, measurement of national income, demand for leisure, pension policies, and for the demand for health care are considered.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4638.

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Date of creation: Feb 1994
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Publication status: published as The American Economic Review, Vol. 84, no. 3, pp. 369-395, (June 1994).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4638

Note: DAE EFG HE
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  1. Atack, Jeremy & Bateman, Fred, 1992. "How Long Was the Workday in 1880?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(01), pages 129-160, March.
  2. Shammas, Carole, 1984. "The eighteenth-century English diet and economic change," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 254-269, July.
  3. West, Patrick & Macintyre, Sally & Annandale, Ellen & Hunt, Kate, 1990. "Social class and health in youth: Findings from the west of Scotland twenty-07 study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 665-673, January.
  4. Freudenberger, Herman & Cummins, Gaylord, 1976. "Health, work, and leisure before the industrial revolution," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-12, January.
  5. Murphy, Kevin M & Welch, Finis, 1990. "Empirical Age-Earnings Profiles," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(2), pages 202-29, April.
  6. Wolfe, Barbara L., 1986. "Health status and medical expenditures: Is there a link?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 22(10), pages 993-999, January.
  7. Eckstein, Zvi & Schultz, T. Paul & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 1984. "Short-run fluctuations in fertility and mortality in pre-industrial Sweden," European Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 295-317, December.
  8. Weir, David R., 1993. "Parental Consumption Decisions and Child Health During the Early French Fertility Decline, 1790–1914," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(02), pages 259-274, June.
  9. Joseph P. Newhouse, 1992. "Medical Care Costs: How Much Welfare Loss?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 3-21, Summer.
  10. Manton, Kenneth G. & Stallard, Eric & Singer, Burt, 1992. "Projecting the future size and health status of the US elderly population," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 433-458, November.
  11. Robert W. Fogel, 1984. "Nutrition and the Decline in Mortality Since 1700: Some Preliminary Findings," NBER Working Papers 1402, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Seckler, David, 1980. ""Malnutrition": An Intellectual Odyssey," Western Journal of Agricultural Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 5(02), December.
  13. Kuznets, Simon, 1941. "Statistics and Economic History," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 26-41, May.
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