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Urbanization, long-run growth, and the demographic transition

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  • Adams, Jonathan J.

Abstract

Advanced economies undergo three transitions during their development: (1) transition from a rural to an urban economy, (2) transition from low-income growth to high-income growth, (3) transition from high fertility and mortality rates to low modern levels. The timings of these transitions are correlated in the historical development of most advanced economies. I consider a nonlinear model of endogenous long-run economic and demographic change, in which child quantity-quality substitution is driven by declining child mortality. Because the model captures the interactions between all three transitions, it is able to explain three additional empirical patterns: a declining urban-rural wage gap, a declining rural-urban family size ratio, and most surprisingly, that early urbanization slows development. This third prediction distinguishes the model from other theories of long-run growth, and I document evidence for it in cross-country data.

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  • Adams, Jonathan J., 2022. "Urbanization, long-run growth, and the demographic transition," Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 88(1), pages 31-77, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:demeco:v:88:y:2022:i:1:p:31-77_2
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    3. Thomas Baudin & Robert Stelter, 2016. "Rural exodus and fertility at the time of industrialization," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2016020, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).

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    JEL classification:

    • E13 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Neoclassical
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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