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From Malthus to Modern Growth: Can Epidemics Explain the Three Regimes?

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  • Nils-Petter Lagerlöf

Abstract

We model demographic and economic long-run development in a setting where mortality is endogenous and subject to epidemic shocks. The model replicates the full transition from Malthusian stagnation to modern growth. Consistent with the historical facts, the economy also passes an intermediate post-Malthusian phase where growth rates of both population and per capita income increase simultaneously, as mortality rates fall and become less volatile. The escape from the Malthusian trap is the result of a series of mild epidemic shocks, making it inevitable at some stage, but its timing random. Calibrations show that it can differ by thousands of generations, absent differences in exogenous parameters. Copyright 2003 By The Economics Department Of The University Of Pennsylvania And Osaka University Institute Of Social And Economic Research Association.

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  • Nils-Petter Lagerlöf, 2003. "From Malthus to Modern Growth: Can Epidemics Explain the Three Regimes?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(2), pages 755-777, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:44:y:2003:i:2:p:755-777
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