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

  • Fogel, Robert W

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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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 84 (1994)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 369-95

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:84:y:1994:i:3:p:369-95
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  1. Murphy, Kevin M & Welch, Finis, 1990. "Empirical Age-Earnings Profiles," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(2), pages 202-29, April.
  2. 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, vol. 8(3), pages 433-458, November.
  3. Freudenberger, Herman & Cummins, Gaylord, 1976. "Health, work, and leisure before the industrial revolution," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-12, January.
  4. Atack, Jeremy & Bateman, Fred, 1992. "How Long Was the Workday in 1880?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(01), pages 129-160, March.
  5. 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, vol. 53(02), pages 259-274, June.
  6. Seckler, David, 1980. ""Malnutrition": An Intellectual Odyssey," Western Journal of Agricultural Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 5(02), December.
  7. Joseph P. Newhouse, 1992. "Medical Care Costs: How Much Welfare Loss?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 3-21, Summer.
  8. Wolfe, Barbara L., 1986. "Health status and medical expenditures: Is there a link?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 22(10), pages 993-999, January.
  9. Eckstein, Zvi & Schultz, T. Paul & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 1984. "Short-run fluctuations in fertility and mortality in pre-industrial Sweden," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 295-317, December.
  10. Kuznets, Simon, 1941. "Statistics and Economic History," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 26-41, May.
  11. Robert W. Fogel, 1986. "Nutrition and the Decline in Mortality since 1700: Some Preliminary Findings," NBER Chapters, in: Long-Term Factors in American Economic Growth, pages 439-556 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Shammas, Carole, 1984. "The eighteenth-century English diet and economic change," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 254-269, July.
  13. 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, vol. 30(6), pages 665-673, January.
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