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From Malthus to Solow: How did the Malthusian economy really evolve?

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  • Crafts, Nicholas
  • Mills, Terence C.

Abstract

This paper uses a variety of time-series methods and a new real wage series from [Clark, G., 2005. The condition of the working class in England, 1209 to 2004. Journal of Political Economy 113, 520 1307-1340.] to re-examine economic-demographic interactions in pre-industrial England. We confirm that there was a Malthusian economy in the sense that real wages were stationary until the end of the eighteenth century but we find that these was no positive check and that the preventive check broke down in the mid-seventeenth century so that Malthusian controls were absent from that point. There is no evidence of a positive feedback from increasing population size to technological progress as postulated by unified growth theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Crafts, Nicholas & Mills, Terence C., 2009. "From Malthus to Solow: How did the Malthusian economy really evolve?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 68-93, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:31:y:2009:i:1:p:68-93
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2005. "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 546-579, June.
    2. N. F. R. Crafts & C. Knick Harley, 2002. "Precocious British Industrialization: A General Equilibrium Perspective," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 200213, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
    3. Ozgen Sayginsoy & Tim Vogelsang, 2004. "Powerful Tests of Structural Change That are Robust to Strong Serial Correlation," Discussion Papers 04-08, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
    4. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
    5. Lee Ronald, 1993. "Accidental and Systematic Change in Population History: Homeostasis in a Stochastic Setting," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 1-30, January.
    6. 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.
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