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A malthusian model for all seasons


  • Paul R Sharp

    () (University of Copenhagen)

  • Jacob L Weisdorf

    () (University of Copenhagen)


An issue often discussed in relation to agricultural development is the effect on agricultural labour productivity of more intensive land-use. Introducing aspects of seasonality into a stylized Malthusian model, we unify two diverging views by showing that labour productivity may go up or down with agricultural intensification, depending on whether technological progress emerges in relation to cultivation or harvesting activities. Our result rests on evidence reported by Boserup (1965) and others, which suggests that harvest seasons in traditional agriculture are characterized by severe labour shortage.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul R Sharp & Jacob L Weisdorf, 2009. "A malthusian model for all seasons," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(2), pages 769-774.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-09-00080

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Craig R. Fox & Amos Tversky, 1995. "Ambiguity Aversion and Comparative Ignorance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 585-603.
    2. Tversky, Amos & Slovic, Paul & Kahneman, Daniel, 1990. "The Causes of Preference Reversal," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 204-217, March.
    3. Hogarth, Robin M & Kunreuther, Howard, 1989. "Risk, Ambiguity, and Insurance," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 5-35, April.
    4. Camerer, Colin & Kunreuther, Howard, 1989. "Experimental Markets for Insurance," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 265-299, September.
    5. Ulrich Schmidt & John D. Hey, 2004. "Are Preference Reversals Errors? An Experimental Investigation," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 29(3), pages 207-218, December.
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    More about this item


    Agricultural Intensification; Boserup; Labour Surplus; Malthus; Seasonality;

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • N0 - Economic History - - General


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