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

  • Crafts, Nicholas
  • Mills, Terence C.

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.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 31 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 68-93

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:31:y:2009:i:1:p:68-93
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622617

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  1. 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.
  2. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon H. & Robinson, James A., 2003. "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutioanl Change and Economic Growth," Working papers 4269-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  3. Nicholas Crafts & C. Knick Harley, 2002. "Precocious British industrialization: a general equilibrium perspective," Economic History Working Papers 22368, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  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. Esteban A. Nicolini, 2006. "Was Malthus Right? A Var Analysis Of Economic And Demographic Interactions In Pre-Industrial England," Working Papers in Economic History wh060601, Universidad Carlos III, Instituto Figuerola de Historia y Ciencias Sociales.
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