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Sex, Equality, and Growth (in that order)

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  • Nils-Petter Lagerlof

    (Concordia University)

Abstract

We set up a unified growth model capturing the transition of a primitive and egalitarian hunter-gatherer society, into an advanced and despotic early civilization, and finally into a more egalitarian industrial society. Agents are either landowners or landless; both earn income from human capital, but only landowners earn income from land. The central assumption is that the accumulation of human capital increases with the number of people engaged in intellectual activities, ``thinking.'' For an agent to be a thinker he must be sufficiently rich. At early stages of development, when human capital is scarce, only landowners can afford to think. Human capital thus grows with the size of the landowning class. With polygynous mating, rich landowners attract more women than landless, and thus have more offspring. This leads to a slow expansion in the size of the landowning class and thus a gradual increase in the levels of human capital. At some stage human capital may reach a critical level beyond which also landless agents become thinkers. The set a thinkers then suddenly expands, raising human capital productivity and pushing the economy to sustained growth: an industrial revolution. Allowing also for a quantity-quality trade-off in children a demographic transition sets in. But the economy may also follow a path leading to the downfall of the civilization, and a slow transition back into an egalitarian hunter-gatherer state. Which path the economy follows depends on the level of land productivity. An agricultural revolution is thus a necessary precondition for a later industrial revolution.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 0212012.

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Date of creation: 22 Dec 2002
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0212012

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Keywords: Polygyny; equality; growth; population;

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References

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  1. Ted Bergstrom, . "On the Economic of Polygyny," Papers _032, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
  2. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 1998. "Malthus to Solow," NBER Working Papers 6858, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Eric D. Gould & Omer Moav & Avi Simhon, 2008. "The Mystery of Monogamy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 333-57, March.
  4. Kalemli-Ozcan, Sebnem & Ryder, Harl E. & Weil, David N., 2000. "Mortality decline, human capital investment, and economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 1-23, June.
  5. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2000. "Das Human Kapital," Working Papers 2000-17, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  6. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2004. "From Physical to Human Capital Accumulation: Inequality and the Process of Development," GE, Growth, Math methods 0410005, EconWPA.
  7. Bertocchi, Graziella, 2003. "The Law of Primogeniture and the Transition from Landed Aristocracy to Industrial Democracy," CEPR Discussion Papers 3723, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert Tamura, . "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 90-5a, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  9. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2002. "Natural Selection And The Origin Of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1133-1191, November.
  10. Charles I. Jones, . "Was an Industrial Revolution Inevitable? Economic Growth Over the Very Long Run," Working Papers 99008, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  11. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, 1986. "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," NBER Working Papers 1793, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, 2002. "Does the Mortality Decline Promote Economic Growth?," Macroeconomics 0212008, EconWPA.
  13. Robert J. Barro & Gary S. Becker, . "Fertility Choice in a Model of Economic Growth," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 88-8, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  14. Galor, Oded & Weil, David, 1999. "From Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2082, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Oded Galor & Omer Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2004. "Land Inequality and the Origin of Divergence and Overtaking in the Growth Process: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2003-04, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  16. Burkett, John P & Humblet, Catherine & Putterman, Louis, 1999. "Preindustrial and Postwar Economic Development: Is There a Link?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(3), pages 471-95, April.
  17. Tamura, Robert, 2002. "Human capital and the switch from agriculture to industry," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 207-242, December.
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  1. Why has monogamy prevailed?
    by nawmsayn in ZeeConomics on 2014-05-11 14:49:27
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  1. Eric D. Gould & Omer Moav & Avi Simhon, 2008. "The Mystery of Monogamy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 333-57, March.

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