Malthus to Solow
AbstractA unified growth theory is developed that accounts for the roughly constant living standards displayed by world economies prior to 1800 as well as the growing living standards exhibited by modern industrial economies. Our theory also explains the industrial revolution, which is the transition from an era when per capita incomes are stagnant to one with sustained growth. This transition is inevitable given positive rates of total factor productivity growth. We use a standard growth model with one good and two available technologies. The first, denoted the capital as inputs. The second, denoted the does not require land. We show that in the early stages of development, only the Malthus technology is used and, due to population growth, living standards are stagnant despite technological progress. Eventually, technological progress causes the Solow technology to become profitable and both technologies are employed. At this point, living standards improve since population growth has less influence on per capita income growth. In the limit, the economy behaves like a standard Solow growth model.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6858.
Date of creation: Dec 1998
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Hansen, Gary D. and Edward C. Prescott. "Malthus To Solow," American Economic Review, 2002, v92(4,Sep), 1205-1217.
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Other versions of this item:
- O1 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
- O4 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-1998-12-28 (All new papers)
- NEP-DGE-1998-12-28 (Dynamic General Equilibrium)
- NEP-TID-1999-01-11 (Technology & Industrial Dynamics)
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Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- How much inequality would Plato tolerate?
by YouNotSneaky! in YouNotSneaky on 2007-05-15 01:59:00
- Ed Prescott to Speak at ANU
by firstname.lastname@example.org (David Stern) in Stochastic Trend on 2014-07-29 02:46:00
- Unified Growth Theory
by ? in Graduate Economist on 2012-04-19 12:00:00
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