IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Physiological Foundations of the Wealth of Nations

  • Dalgaard, Carl-Johan
  • Strulik, Holger

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät in its series Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) with number dp-480.

in new window

Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:han:dpaper:dp-480
Contact details of provider: Postal: Koenigsworther Platz 1, D-30167 Hannover
Phone: (0511) 762-5350
Fax: (0511) 762-5665
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2002. "Natural Selection And The Origin Of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1133-1191, November.
  2. John Komlos, 1989. "Nutrition and Economic Development in the Eighteenth-Century Habsburg Monarchy: An Anthropometric History," Books by John Komlos, Department of Economics, University of Munich, number 2, Jul-Oct.
  3. Sharon L. Maccini & Dean Yang, 2008. "Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Economic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall," NBER Working Papers 14031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Strulik, Holger, 2010. "The History Augmented Solow model," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-460, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  5. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2010. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch," Center for Development Economics 2010-07, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised May 2011.
  6. Xin Meng & Nancy Qian, 2009. "The Long Term Consequences of Famine on Survivors: Evidence from a Unique Natural Experiment using China's Great Famine," NBER Working Papers 14917, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Voigtländer, Nico & Voth, Hans-Joachim, 2009. "The Three Horsemen of Growth: Plague, War and Urbanization in Early Modern Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 7275, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Richard H. Steckel, 1982. "Height and Per Capita Income," NBER Working Papers 0880, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2005. "From Foraging To Farming: Explaining The Neolithic Revolution," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(4), pages 561-586, 09.
  10. Nunn, Nathan & Puga, Diego, 2007. "Ruggedness: The Blessing of Bad Geography in Africa," CEPR Discussion Papers 6253, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Nathan Nunn & Leonard Wantchekon, 2009. "The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa," NBER Working Papers 14783, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Aiyar, Shekhar & Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Moav, Omer, 2006. "Technological Progress and Regress in Pre-Industrial Times," CEPR Discussion Papers 5454, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Koepke, Nikola & Baten, Joerg, 2005. "The biological standard of living in Europe during the last two millennia," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(01), pages 61-95, April.
  14. Salam Abdus & Peter Rangazas, 2011. "Adult Nutrition and Growth," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(4), pages 636-649, October.
  15. Geoffrey B. West & James H. Brown & Brian J. Enquist, 1997. "A General Model for the Origin of Allometric Scaling Laws in Biology," Working Papers 97-03-019, Santa Fe Institute.
  16. Karine S. Moe, 1998. "Fertility, Time Use, and Economic Development," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 699-718, July.
  17. Fogel, Robert W., 1993. "Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1993-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
  18. J. Vernon Henderson & Adam Storeygard & David N. Weil, 2012. "Measuring Economic Growth from Outer Space," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 994-1028, April.
  19. Sunde, Uwe & Cervellati, Matteo, 2013. "The Economic and Demographic Transition, Mortality, and Comparative Development," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80053, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  20. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716, August.
  21. Galor, Oded & Weil, David, 1999. "From Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2082, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  22. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Holger Strulik, 2011. "A physiological foundation for the nutrition-based efficiency wage model," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 232-253, April.
  23. Gustafsson, Bjorn & Kjulin, Urban, 1994. "Time Use in Child Care and Housework and the Total Cost of Children," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 287-306, July.
  24. Michalopoulos, Stelios & Papaioannou, Elias, 2012. "Pre-colonial Ethnic Institutions and Contemporary African Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 9068, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2004. "Returns to Birthweight," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 586-601, May.
  26. David N. Weil, 2005. "Accounting for the Effect of Health on Economic Growth," Working Papers 2005-07, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  27. 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.
  28. 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, 02.
  29. Robert E. Lucas, 2000. "Some Macroeconomics for the 21st Century," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 159-168, Winter.
  30. Brinkman, Henk Jan & Drukker, J. W. & Slot, Brigitte, 1988. "Height and income: A new method for the estimation of historical national income series," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 227-264, July.
  31. Oded Galor, 2005. "Discrete Dynamical Systems," GE, Growth, Math methods 0504001, EconWPA.
  32. Ulrich Woitek, 1998. "Height Cycles in the 18th and 19th Centuries," Working Papers 9811, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  33. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
  34. Deaton, Angus S & Muellbauer, John, 1986. "On Measuring Child Costs: With Applications to Poor Countries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 720-44, August.
  35. Alderman,Harold & Hoddinott, John & Kinsey, Bill, 2003. "Long-term consequences of early childhood malnutrition," FCND discussion papers 168, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  36. Lee, Maw Lin & Loschky, David, 1987. "Malthusian Population Oscillations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 727-39, September.
  37. Strauss, John, 1986. "Does Better Nutrition Raise Farm Productivity?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(2), pages 297-320, April.
  38. Yoko Akachi & David Canning, 2007. "The Height of Women in Sub-Saharan Africa: the Role of Health, Nutrition, and Income in Childhood," PGDA Working Papers 2207, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  39. repec:lmu:muenar:20074 is not listed on IDEAS
  40. 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.
  41. Gregory Clark, 2007. "Introduction to A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World
    [A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World]
    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
  42. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2001. "The U.S. Structural Transformation and Regional Convergence: A Reinterpretation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 584-616, June.
  43. Schneider, Ryan, 1996. "Historical note on height and parental consumption decisions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 279-283, February.
  44. Weir, David R., 1993. "Parental Consumption Decisions and Child Health During the Early French Fertility Decline, 1790–1914," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(02), pages 259-274, June.
  45. Matthew Baker, 2008. "A structural model of the transition to agriculture," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 257-292, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Economic Logic blog

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:han:dpaper:dp-480. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Heidrich, Christian)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.