Early Mortality Declines at the Dawn of Modern Growth
We explore the hypothesis that demographic changes which began in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are at the root of the acceleration in growth rates at the dawn of the modern age. During this period, life tables for Geneva and Venice show a decline in adult mortality; French marriage registers reveal an important increase in literacy; historians measure an acceleration of economic growth. We develop an endogenous growth model with a realistic survival law in which rising longevity increases individual incentives to invest in education and fosters growth. We quantitatively estimate that the observed improvements in adult mortality account for 70% of the growth acceleration in the pre-industrial age. Copyright The editors of the "Scandinavian Journal of Economics", 2003 .
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