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Malthusian Dynamism and the Rise of Europe: Make War, Not Love


  • Nico Voigtlander
  • Hans-Joachim Voth


This paper argues that Malthusian regimes are capable of sustained changes in per capita incomes. Shifting mortality and fertility schedules can lead to different steady-state income levels, with long periods of growth during the transition. Europe checked the downward pressure on wages through late marriage, which reduced fertility, and a mortality regime that combined high death rates with high incomes. We argue that both emerged as a result of the Black Death.
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  • Nico Voigtlander & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2009. "Malthusian Dynamism and the Rise of Europe: Make War, Not Love," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 248-254, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:2:p:248-54 Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.2.248

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gregory Clark, 2005. "The Condition of the Working Class in England, 1209-2004," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1307-1340, December.
    2. Galor, Oded, 2005. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 171-293 Elsevier.
    3. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2008. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusain Epoch," Working Papers 2008-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    4. N. F. R. Crafts & C. K. Harley, 1992. "Output growth and the British industrial revolution: a restatement of the Crafts-Harley view," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 45(4), pages 703-730, November.
    5. Tine De Moor & Jan Luiten Van Zanden, 2010. "Girl power: the European marriage pattern and labour markets in the North Sea region in the late medieval and early modern period -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(1), pages 1-33, February.
    6. Gregory Clark, 2007. "Introduction to A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World," Introductory Chapters,in: A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World Princeton University Press.
    7. Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2006. "Why England? Demographic factors, structural change and physical capital accumulation during the Industrial Revolution," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 319-361, December.
    8. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2003-2041, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nico Voigtl?nder & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2013. "How the West "Invented" Fertility Restriction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2227-2264, October.
    2. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2003-2041, August.
    3. Foreman-Peck, James, 2011. "The Western European marriage pattern and economic development," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 292-309, April.
    4. Galor, Oded, 2009. "2008 Lawrence R. Klein Lecture -- Comparative Economic Development: Insights from Unified Growth Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 7519, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Francesco Cinnirella & Marc P. B. Klemp & Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2012. "Malthus in the Bedroom: Birth Spacing as a Preventive Check Mechanism in Pre-Modern England," CESifo Working Paper Series 3936, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Sara LaLumia & James Sallee, 2013. "The value of honesty: empirical estimates from the case of the missing children," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(2), pages 192-224, April.
    7. Tommy E. Murphy, 2010. "Persistence of Malthus or Persistence in Malthus? Mortality, Income, and Marriage in the French Fertility Decline of the Long Nineteenth Century?," Working Papers 363, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    8. Guerriero, Carmine & Boranbay, Serra, 2012. "Endogenous (In)Formal Institutions," MPRA Paper 71028, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 22 Apr 2016.
    9. Edvinsson, Rodney, 2015. "Pre-industrial population and economic growth: Was there a Malthusian mechanism in Sweden?," Stockholm Papers in Economic History 17, Stockholm University, Department of Economic History.
    10. Ho, Chi Pui, 2016. "Industrious Selection: Explaining Five Revolutions and Two Divergences in Eurasian Economic History within a Unified Growth Framework," MPRA Paper 73862, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. repec:spr:cliomt:v:11:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11698-016-0144-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Guerriero, Carmine, 2013. "Endogenous Institutions and Economic Outcomes," MPRA Paper 70879, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 21 Jan 2015.
    13. Voigtländer, Nico & Voth, Hans-Joachim, 2009. "The Three Horsemen of Growth: Plague, War and Urbanization in Early Modern Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 7275, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Gooch, Elizabeth, 2017. "Estimating the Long-Term Impact of the Great Chinese Famine (1959–61) on Modern China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 140-151.
    15. Vogel, Edgar, 2011. "Human Capital and the Demographic Transition: Why Schooling Became Optimal," MEA discussion paper series 11247, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    16. Jedwab, Remi & Vollrath, Dietrich, 2015. "Urbanization without growth in historical perspective," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 1-21.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population


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