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The determinants of income in a Malthusian equilibrium

  • Sharp, Paul
  • Strulik, Holger
  • Weisdorf, Jacob

This study constructs a simple, two-sector Malthusian model with agriculture and industry, and uses it to identify the determinants of income in a Malthusian equilibrium. We make standard assumptions about preferences and technologies, but in contrast to existing studies we assume that children and other consumption goods are gross substitutes. Consistent with the conventional Malthusian model, the present theory shows that productivity growth in agriculture has no effect on equilibrium income. More importantly, we also show that equilibrium income varies, not just with the death rate as has recently been demonstrated in the literature, but also with the level of productivity in the industrial sector. An empirical analysis using data for pre-industrial England lends support to both hypotheses.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 97 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 112-117

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:97:y:2012:i:1:p:112-117
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec

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  1. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2010. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch," Center for Development Economics 2010-07, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised May 2011.
  2. 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.
  3. Holger Strulik & Jacob Weisdorf, 2008. "Population, food, and knowledge: a simple unified growth theory," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 195-216, September.
  4. Nicolini, Esteban A., 2007. "Was Malthus right? A VAR analysis of economic and demographic interactions in pre-industrial England," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 99-121, April.
  5. Juselius, Katarina, 2006. "The Cointegrated VAR Model: Methodology and Applications," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199285679, March.
  6. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 1999. "Malthus to Solow," Staff Report 257, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. Kevin O’rourke & Jeffrey Williamson, 2005. "From Malthus to Ohlin: Trade, Industrialisation and Distribution Since 1500," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 5-34, 01.
  8. Strulik, Holger, 2008. "A Note on Economic Growth with Subsistence Consumption," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-405, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  9. Allen, Robert C., 1992. "Enclosure and the Yeoman: The Agricultural Development of the South Midlands 1450-1850," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198282969, March.
  10. Allen, Robert C., 2001. "The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 411-447, October.
  11. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Holger Strulik, 2010. "The Physiological Foundations of the Wealth of Nations," Discussion Papers 10-05, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  12. Gregory Clark, 2007. "Introduction to A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World
    [A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World]
    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
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