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Growth, Distribution and Demography: Some Lessons from History

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  • Jeffrey G. Williamson

Abstract

If we have learned anything from the recent outpouring of empirical growth equations is that life is far too complex to expect unconditional' convergence among all countries and at" all times. This fact motivates two questions. First, why has it taken economists so long to learn" the same lesson from the Kuznets Curve debate? No economist should expect an unconditional'" Kuznets Curve to emerge from the growth experience of all countries and at all times. The" industrial revolutionary forces thought to have an impact on inequality can be offset or reinforced" by demography, skill supply and globalization. This paper assesses the role of globalization and" demography via mass migrations. Second, why has it taken economists so long to learn that" demography influences growth? When treated properly, demography can be shown to have a" significant impact on GDP per capita growth. The answers to these two questions are sought by" looking at inequality and growth experience in the Old World, the New World last century and a half.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6244.

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Date of creation: Oct 1997
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Publication status: published as Explorations in Economic History, Vol. 35, no. 3 (July 1998): 241-271.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6244

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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. Alan M. Taylor, 1996. "Sources of Convergence in the Late Nineteenth Century," NBER Working Papers 5806, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Robinson, Sherman, 1976. "A Note on the U Hypothesis Relating Income Inequality and Economic Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(3), pages 437-40, June.
  4. Ahluwalia, Montek S., 1976. "Inequality, poverty and development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 307-342, December.
  5. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 1995. "Around the European Periphery 1870-1913: Globalization, Schooling and Growth," NBER Working Papers 5392, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Williamson Jeffrey G., 1995. "The Evolution of Global Labor Markets since 1830: Background Evidence and Hypotheses," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 141-196, April.
  7. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1999. "A Data Set on Income Distribution," CEMA Working Papers 575, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  8. O'Rourke, K, 1997. "Tariffs and Growth in the Late 19th Century," Papers 97/18, College Dublin, Department of Political Economy-.
  9. Taylor, A.M., 1991. "Capital Flows to the New World as an Intergenerational Transfer," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1579, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  10. Wood, Adrian, 1995. "North-South Trade, Employment and Inequality: Changing Fortunes in a Skill-Driven World," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290155, September.
  11. Kelley, Allen C. & Schmidt, Robert M., 1995. "Aggregate Population and Economic Growth Correlations: The Role of the Components of Demographic Change," Working Papers 95-37, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  12. Klaus Deininger & Lyn Squire, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 512, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  13. Williamson, Jeffrey G, 1997. "Globalization and Inequality, Past and Present," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 12(2), pages 117-35, August.
  14. Taylor, Alan M. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1997. "Convergence in the age of mass migration," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 27-63, April.
  15. Bloom, David E & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 1998. "Demographic Transitions and Economic Miracles in Emerging Asia," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(3), pages 419-55, September.
  16. Peter Lindert & Wen Hai & Shunli Yao, 2003. "Three Centuries Of Inequality In Britain And America," Working Papers 979, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  17. Timothy J. Hatton & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 1992. "What Drove the Mass Migrations from Europe in the Late Nineteenth Century?," NBER Historical Working Papers 0043, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. O'Rourke, Kevin H & Taylor, Alan M & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 1996. "Factor Price Convergence in the Late Nineteenth Century," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(3), pages 499-530, August.
  19. Lindert, Peter H., 2000. "Three centuries of inequality in Britain and America," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 3, pages 167-216 Elsevier.
  20. Kelley, Allen C, 1988. "Economic Consequences of Population Change in the Third World," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 1685-1728, December.
  21. Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1996. "Globalization, Convergence, and History," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(02), pages 277-306, June.
  22. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1994. "The Political Economy of Growth: A Critical Survey of the Recent Literature," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 8(3), pages 351-71, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Qun Shi & Rod Tyers, 2005. "Global Demographic Change and Economic Performance Applications of an Augmented GTAP-Dynamic," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2005-450, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
  2. Grimm, Michael, 2000. "Comportement familial, inégalités et croissance : Une revue de la littérature," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/4927, Paris Dauphine University.
  3. Isabel Sanz Villarroya, 2003. "Derechos de Propiedad y Crecimiento Económico en Argentina 1875-1990," Working Papers in Economic History dh030403, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones.
  4. Nathan Sussman, 2006. "Income Inequality in Paris in the Heyday of the Commercial Revolution," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_043, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  5. Luis Bertola & Maria Camou & Silvana Maubrigades & Natalia Melgar, 2008. "Human development and inequality in the 20th Century : the Mercosur countries in a comparative perspective," Working Papers in Economic History wp08-06, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones.
  6. Anneli Kaasa, 2005. "Factors Of Income Inequality And Their Influence Mechanisms: A Theoretical Overview," University of Tartu - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Working Paper Series 40, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu (Estonia).
  7. Jeffrey G. Williamson, 1998. "Globalization, Labor Markets and Policy Backlash in the Past," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 51-72, Fall.
  8. Cai, Fang & Wang, Meiyan, 2010. "Growth and structural changes in employment in transition China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 71-81, March.
  9. Chan, Ming Ming & Shi, Qun & Tyers, Rodney, 2005. "Global Demographic Change and Economic Performance: Implications for Agricultural Markets," 2005 Conference (49th), February 9-11, 2005, Coff's Harbour, Australia 137808, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.

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