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Subsistence: A Bio-economic Foundation of the Malthusian Equilibrium

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  • Strulik, Holger
  • Dalgaard, Carl-Johan

Abstract

This paper develops a bio-economic 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 mass and fertility. The theory admits a two-dimensional Malthusian equilibrium characterized by population density and body mass (metabolic rate) of the representative adult. As a result, the analysis allows us to examine the link between, in particular, human biology and long run income, body mass 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. We also demonstrate that a take-off into sustained growth should be associated with increasing income, population size, and body mass. The increase in the latter is, however, bounded and can be viewed as convergence to a biologically determined upper limit. --

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics in its series Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Göttingen 2007 with number 31.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec07:6554

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

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  1. 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.
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  8. Fogel, Robert W, 1994. "Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 369-95, June.
  9. Costas Azariadis, 1996. "The Economics of Poverty Traps Part One: Complete Markets," Working Papers 9606, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  10. Richard H. Steckel, 1995. "Stature and the Standard of Living," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1903-1940, December.
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  12. Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2003. "From Foraging to Farming: Explaining the Neolithic Revolution," Discussion Papers 03-41, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  13. Richard H. Steckel, 2001. "Health and Nutrition in the Preindustrial Era: Insights from a Millennium of Average Heights in Northern Europe," NBER Working Papers 8542, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
  15. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Malthus to Solow," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1205-1217, September.
  16. Dasgupta, Partha, 1997. "Nutritional status, the capacity for work, and poverty traps," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 5-37, March.
  17. Holger Strulik, 2005. "Geography, Health, and Demo-Economic Development," Discussion Papers 05-15, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  18. Kraay, Aart & Raddatz, Claudio, 2005. "Poverty traps, aid, and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3631, The World Bank.
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Cited by:
  1. Omar Licandro & David de la Croix, 2008. "The Child is Father of the Man: Implications for the Demographic Transition," 2008 Meeting Papers 186, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Strulik, Holger, 2008. "Geography, health, and the pace of demo-economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 61-75, April.
  3. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Holger Strulik, 2007. "Rediscovering the Solow Model: An Energy Network Approach," Discussion Papers 07-09, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.

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