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The Simplest Unified Growth Theory

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  • Strulik, Holger
  • Weisdorf, Jacob

Abstract

This paper provides a unified growth theory, i.e. a model that explains the very long-run economic and demographic development path of industrialized economies, stretching from the pre-industrial era to present-day and beyond. Making strict use of Malthus' (1798) so-called preventive check hypothesis - that fertility rates vary inversely with the price of food - the current study offers a new and straightforward explanation for the demographic transition and the break with the Malthusian era. The current framework lends support to existing unified growth theories and is well in tune with historical evidence about structural transformation.

Suggested Citation

  • Strulik, Holger & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2007. "The Simplest Unified Growth Theory," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-375, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  • Handle: RePEc:han:dpaper:dp-375
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Holger Strulik, 2003. "Mortality, the Trade‐off between Child Quality and Quantity, and Demo‐economic Development," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 499-520, November.
    2. Matthias Doepke, 2004. "Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 347-383, September.
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    5. Galor, Oded, 2005. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 171-293, Elsevier.
    6. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 1992. "Agricultural productivity, comparative advantage, and economic growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 317-334, December.
    7. Crafts, Nicholas F R, 1996. "The First Industrial Revolution: A Guided Tour for Growth Economists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 197-201, May.
    8. Weisdorf, Jacob L., 2008. "Malthus revisited: Fertility decision making based on quasi-linear preferences," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 127-130, April.
    9. D. Gale Johnson, 2000. "Population, Food, and Knowledge," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 1-14, March.
    10. Oded Galor & David N. Weil, 1998. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition," Working Papers 98-3, Brown University, Department of Economics, revised 19 Aug 1998.
    11. Ben S. Bernanke & Refet S. Gürkaynak, 2002. "Is Growth Exogenous? Taking Mankiw, Romer, and Weil Seriously," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001, Volume 16, pages 11-72, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    13. Strulik, Holger, 2008. "Geography, health, and the pace of demo-economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 61-75, April.
    14. Holger Strulik, 1997. "Learning-by-doing, population pressure, and the theory of demographic transition," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 10(3), pages 285-298.
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    16. 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.
    17. Allen, Robert C., 2000. "Economic structure and agricultural productivity in Europe, 1300–1800," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 1-25, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic Growth; Population Growth; Structural Change; Industrial Revolution;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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