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Economic growth in the Roman Mediterranean world: An early good-bye to Malthus?

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  • Erdkamp, Paul

Abstract

Was the Roman world caught in a Malthusian trap? In this survey, I draw on a wide range of evidence – from archeological data to city size estimates – to argue that Malthusian constraints were not binding over long periods. Market-size effects allowed the Roman economy to grow substantially in per capita terms, despite population growth. I place these observations in the context of recent debates and contributions by both ancient historians and – for the long run – by economists.

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  • Erdkamp, Paul, 2016. "Economic growth in the Roman Mediterranean world: An early good-bye to Malthus?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 1-20.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:60:y:2016:i:c:p:1-20
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2015.11.004
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    2. Terpstra, Taco, 2020. "Roman technological progress in comparative context: The Roman Empire, Medieval Europe and Imperial China," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 75(C).

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