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The Physiological Foundations of the Wealth of Nations

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  • Dalgaard, Carl-Johan
  • Strulik, Holger

Abstract

In the present paper we advance a theory of pre-industrial growth where body size and population size are endogenously determined. Despite the fact that parents invest in both child quantity and productivity enhancing child quality, a take-off does not occur due to a key "physiological check": if human body size rises, subsistence requirements will increase. This mechanism turns out to be instrumental in explaining why income stagnates near an endogenously determined subsistence boundary. Key predictions of the model are supported by cross-country data.

Suggested Citation

  • Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Strulik, Holger, 2011. "The Physiological Foundations of the Wealth of Nations," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-480, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  • Handle: RePEc:han:dpaper:dp-480
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    1. Physiology and Malthus
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-11-10 23:08:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Oded Galor & Marc Klemp, 2014. "The Biocultural Origins of Human Capital Formation," Working Papers 2014-6, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    2. Mark E. McGovern & Aditi Krishna & Victor M. Aguayo & S.V. Subramanian, 2017. "A Review of the Evidence Linking Child Stunting to Economic Outcomes," CHaRMS Working Papers 17-03, Centre for HeAlth Research at the Management School (CHaRMS).
    3. 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.
    4. Jaime Reis & Nuno Palma, 2018. "Can autocracy promote literacy? Evidence from a cultural alignment success story," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 1805, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    5. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2013. "The 'Out of Africa' Hypothesis, Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 1-46, February.
    6. Oded Galor & Ömer Özak, 2016. "The Agricultural Origins of Time Preference," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(10), pages 3064-3103, October.
    7. Sara LaLumia & James Sallee, 2013. "The value of honesty: empirical estimates from the case of the missing children," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(2), pages 192-224, April.
    8. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:29:y:2018:i:c:p:211-220 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Guzmán, Ricardo Andrés & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2011. "The Neolithic Revolution from a price-theoretic perspective," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 209-219, November.
    10. Abeliansky, Ana Lucia & Strulik, Holger, 2018. "Hungry children age faster," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 211-220.
    11. Strulik, Holger, 2016. "Myopic misery: Maternal depression, child investments, and the neurobiological poverty trap," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 294, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    12. Holger Strulik, 2014. "Knowledge And Growth In The Very Long Run," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55, pages 459-482, May.
    13. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2008. "Human Genetic Diversity and Comparative Economic Development," 2008 Meeting Papers 617, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. Focacci, Antonio, 2017. "Controversial curves of the economy: An up-to-date investigation of long waves," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 271-285.
    15. Oded Galor & Viacheslav Savitskiy, 2018. "Climatic Roots of Loss Aversion," CESifo Working Paper Series 6917, CESifo Group Munich.
    16. Palma, Nuno Pedro G. & Reis, Jaime Brown, 2018. "Can autocracy promote literacy? evidence from a cultural alignment success story," CEPR Discussion Papers 12811, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Sharp, Paul & Strulik, Holger & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2012. "The determinants of income in a Malthusian equilibrium," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 112-117.
    18. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Casper Worm Hansen, 2015. "Climate Shocks and (very) Long-Run Productivity," Discussion Papers 15-15, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    19. Patricia Beeson & Tara Watson & Lara Shore-Sheppard, 2010. "Local Fiscal Policies and Urban Wage Structures," Department of Economics Working Papers 2010-05, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    20. Nuno Palma & Jaime Reis, 2018. "Can Autocracy Promote Literacy? Evidence from a Cultural Alignment Success Story," Working Papers 0127, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    stagnation; Subsistence; Nutrition; Body size; Population growth;

    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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