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Early literacy achievements, population density and the transition to modern growth

  • BOUCEKKINE, Raouf
  • DE LA CROIX, David
  • PEETERS, Dominique

The transition from economic stagnation to sustained growth is often modelled thanks to "population-induced" productivity improvements, which are assumed rather than derived from primary assumptions. In this paper the effect of population on productivity is derived from optimal behavior. More precisely, both the number and location of education facilities are chosen optimally by municipalities. Individuals determine their education investment depending on the distance to the nearest school, and also on technical progress and longevity. In this setting, higher population density enables the set-up costs of additionalschools to be covered, opening the possibility to reach higher educational levels. Using counterfactual experiments we find that one third of the rise in literacy can be directly attributed to the effect of density, while one sixth is linked to higher longevity and one half to technical progress. Moreover, the effect of population density in the model is consistent with the available evidence for England, where it is shown that schools were established at a high rate over the period 1540-1620.

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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 2005026.

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Date of creation: 00 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2005026
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  1. Oded Galor, 2004. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," GE, Growth, Math methods 0409003, EconWPA.
  2. Antonio Ciccone & Robert E. Hall, 1993. "Productivity and the Density of Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 4313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Galor, Oded & Weil, David, 1998. "Population, Technology and Growth: From the Malthusian Regime to the Demographic Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers 1981, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Bartel, Ann P & Lichtenberg, Frank R, 1987. "The Comparative Advantage of Educated Workers in Implementing New Technology," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 1-11, February.
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  6. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 1999. "Malthus to Solow," Staff Report 257, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. Boucekkine, Raouf & de la Croix, David & Licandro, Omar, 2000. "Vintage Human Capital, Demographic Trends and Endogenous Growth," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2000007, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  8. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2000. "Natural Selection and the Origin of economic Growth," Working Papers 2000-18, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  9. 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, 05.
  10. Raouf BOUCEKKINE & David de la Croix & Omar LICANDRO, 2002. "Early mortality declines at the dawn of modern growth," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2002014, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  11. Matthias Doepke, 2004. "Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 347-383, 09.
  12. Thomas J. Holmes, 2005. "The Location of Sales Offices and the Attraction of Cities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 551-581, June.
  13. Kelley, Allen C. & Schmidt, Robert M., 1995. "Aggregate Population and Economic Growth Correlations: The Role of the Components of Demographic Change," Working Papers 95-37, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  14. Ciccone, Antonio, 2002. "Agglomeration effects in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 213-227, February.
  15. Hazan, Moshe & Zoabi, Hosny, 2005. "Does Longevity Cause Growth?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4931, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Nils-Petter Lagerlöf, 2006. "The Galor-Weil Model Revisited: A Quantitative Exercise," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(1), pages 116-142, January.
  17. Lubomira Anastassova, 2006. "Productivity Differences and Agglomeration Across Districts of Great Britain," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp289, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
  18. Nicolini, Esteban A., 2004. "Mortality, interest rates, investment, and agricultural production in 18th century England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 130-155, April.
  19. Allen Kelley & Robert Schmidt, 1995. "Aggregate population and economic growth correlations: The role of the components of demographic change," Demography, Springer, vol. 32(4), pages 543-555, November.
  20. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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