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A Bioeconomic Foundation of the Malthusian Equilibrium: Body Size and Population Size in the Long-Run

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  • Dalgaard, Carl-Johan
  • Strulik, Holger

Abstract

This paper develops a bioeconomic Malthusian growth model. By integrating recent research on allometric scaling, energy consumption and ontogenetic growth, we provide a model where subsistence consumption is endogenously linked to body size and fertility. The theory admits a unique Malthusian equilibrium in a two-dimensional state space characterized by population density and body size (metabolic rate) of the representative adult. As a result, the analysis allows us to examine the link between human biology, economic productivity, body size, and population size. Off the steady-state we investigate the possibility of cyclical behavior of the size of a population and the size of its representative member over the very long-run. We also demonstrate that a take-off into sustained growth should be associated with increasing income, population size and body size. The increase in the latter is, however, bounded and can be viewed as convergence to a biologically determined upper limit.

Suggested Citation

  • Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Strulik, Holger, 2007. "A Bioeconomic Foundation of the Malthusian Equilibrium: Body Size and Population Size in the Long-Run," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-373, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  • Handle: RePEc:han:dpaper:dp-373
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2003-2041, August.
    2. Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Strulik, Holger, 2008. "A Bioeconomic Foundation for the Nutrition-based Efficiency Wage Model," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-396, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    3. Brishti Guha & Ashok Guha, 2008. "Utility functions, future consumption targets and subsistence thresholds," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 4(30), pages 1-4.
    4. Oded Galor, 2010. "The 2008 Lawrence R. Klein Lecture-Comparative Economic Development: Insights From Unified Growth Theory," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(1), pages 1-44, February.
    5. Strulik, Holger, 2012. "Patience and prosperity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(1), pages 336-352.
    6. Strulik, Holger, 2008. "Voracity and Growth Reconsidered," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-401, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    7. Weisdorf, Jacob, 2009. "Why did the first farmers toil? Human metabolism and the origins of agriculture," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 157-172, August.
    8. Strulik, Holger, 2010. "A Note On Economic Growth With Subsistence Consumption," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(5), pages 763-771, November.
    9. Olsson, Ola, 2008. "Resource Conflict in Vulnerable Environments: Three Models Applied to Darfur," Working Papers in Economics 325, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    10. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:4:y:2008:i:30:p:1-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Dietrich Vollrath, 2011. "The agricultural basis of comparative development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 343-370, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Subsistence; Nutrition; Metabolism; Population Growth; Ontogenetic Growth; Malthus;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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