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Malthus and the Industrial Revolution

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Abstract

In the process of economic development economies grow through various regimes, each characterized by different demographic-economic interactions. The changes in these interactions are key elements in different explanations of the escape from Malthusian stagnation. We employ time-varying vector autoregressions, an approach that allows tracking this transition for England in the period between 1541 and 1870. The empirical findings suggest that the link between real wages and population growth was at work until the 19th century. Furthermore, we document changes in the propagation mechanism from real wages on population growth over time that feature prominently in Unified Growth Theory. Most remarkably, in contrast to earlier empirical literature we find strong effects of income on mortality after the 1750s.

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  • Alexander Rathke & Samad Sarferaz, 2014. "Malthus and the Industrial Revolution," KOF Working papers 14-351, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:14-351
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3929/ethz-a-010073763
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gregory Clark, 2005. "The Condition of the Working Class in England, 1209-2004," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1307-1340, December.
    2. 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.
    3. John Komlos & Marc Artzrouni, "undated". ""Population Growth through History and the Escape from the Malthusian Trap: A Homeostatic Simulation Model," Articles by John Komlos 34, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
    4. Kalemli-Ozcan, Sebnem, 2002. "Does the Mortality Decline Promote Economic Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 411-439, December.
    5. Matteo Cervellati & Uwe Sunde, 2005. "Human Capital Formation, Life Expectancy, and the Process of Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1653-1672, December.
    6. Crafts, Nicholas & Mills, Terence C., 2009. "From Malthus to Solow: How did the Malthusian economy really evolve?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 68-93, March.
    7. Nicolini, Esteban A., 2007. "Was Malthus right? A VAR analysis of economic and demographic interactions in pre-industrial England," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 99-121, April.
    8. Tamura, Robert, 2002. "Human capital and the switch from agriculture to industry," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 207-242, December.
    9. Ronald Lee, 1973. "Population in Preindustrial England: An Econometric Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(4), pages 581-607.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dybowski, T. Philipp, 2015. "Tracing the Role of Foresight on the Effects of U.S. Tax Policy: Evidence from a Time-Varying SVAR," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113049, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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    Keywords

    Industrial Revolution; Malthusian Trap; Time-Varying Vector Autoregression; Unified Growth Theory;

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