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Early Mortality Declines at the Dawn of Modern Growth

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  • Raouf Boucekkine
  • David de la Croix
  • Omar Licandro

Abstract

We explore the hypothesis that demographic changes which began in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are at the root of the acceleration in growth rates at the dawn of the modern age. During this period, life tables for Geneva and Venice show a decline in adult mortality; French marriage registers reveal an important increase in literacy; historians measure an acceleration of economic growth. We develop an endogenous growth model with a realistic survival law in which rising longevity increases individual incentives to invest in education and fosters growth. We quantitatively estimate that the observed improvements in adult mortality account for 70% of the growth acceleration in the pre-industrial age. Copyright The editors of the "Scandinavian Journal of Economics", 2003 .

Suggested Citation

  • Raouf Boucekkine & David de la Croix & Omar Licandro, 2003. "Early Mortality Declines at the Dawn of Modern Growth," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 105(3), pages 401-418, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:105:y:2003:i:3:p:401-418
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Jones Charles I., 2001. "Was an Industrial Revolution Inevitable? Economic Growth Over the Very Long Run," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-45, August.
    3. Oded Galor & David N. Weil, 1998. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition," Working Papers 98-3, Brown University, Department of Economics, revised 19 Aug 1998.
    4. Heckman, James J, 1976. "A Life-Cycle Model of Earnings, Learning, and Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages 11-44, August.
    5. Boucekkine, Raouf & de la Croix, David & Licandro, Omar, 2002. "Vintage Human Capital, Demographic Trends, and Endogenous Growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(2), pages 340-375, June.
    6. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Malthus to Solow," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1205-1217, September.
    7. Stokey, Nancy L., 2001. "A quantitative model of the British industrial revolution, 1780-1850," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 55-109, December.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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