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Arresting the Sword of Damocles: Dating the Transition to the Post-Malthusian Era in Denmark

Author

Listed:
  • Peter Sandholt Jensen

    (University of Southern Denmark)

  • Maja Uhre Pedersen

    (University of Southern Denmark)

  • Cristina Victoria Radu

    (University of Southern Denmark)

  • Paul Richard Sharp

    (University of Southern Denmark, CAGE, CEPR)

Abstract

Unified Growth Theory postulates a transition from a Malthusian to a post-Malthusian era and finally to modern economic growth. Previous studies have been able to date the end of the post-Malthusian era, but none have conclusively established the timing of the end of the Malthusian era and thus transition to the post-Malthusian era. We consider the case of Denmark, which was characterized by extreme resource and environmental constraints until the final decades of the eighteenth century and thus presents a good candidate for a purely Malthusian society. We employ a cointegrated VAR model on Danish data from ca. 1733-1800, finding that evidence for diminishing returns, which characterize the “pure” Malthusian era, disappears after 1775, consistent with an increasing pace of technological progress.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Sandholt Jensen & Maja Uhre Pedersen & Cristina Victoria Radu & Paul Richard Sharp, 2020. "Arresting the Sword of Damocles: Dating the Transition to the Post-Malthusian Era in Denmark," Working Papers 0182, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  • Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0182
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nicholas Ford & Kristin Ranestad & Paul Sharp, 2022. "Leaving Their Mark: Using Danish Student Grade Lists to Construct a More Detailed Measure of Historical Human Capital," Rivista di storia economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 29-56.
    2. Kristin Ranestad & Paul Sharp, 2023. "Success through failure? Four centuries of searching for Danish coal," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 65(8), pages 1341-1365, November.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cointegration; Denmark; Malthusian; post-Malthusian;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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