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Malthus and the Industrial Revolution: Evidence from a Time-Varying VAR

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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Paper provided by KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich in its series KOF Working papers with number 14-351.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:14-351
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  1. Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, 2002. "Does the Mortality Decline Promote Economic Growth?," Macroeconomics 0212008, EconWPA.
  2. Gregory Clark, 2005. "The Condition of the Working-Class in England, 1209-2004," Working Papers 539, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  3. John Komlos & Marc Artzrouni, . ""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. 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.
  5. Esteban A. Nicolini, 2006. "Was Malthus Right? A Var Analysis Of Economic And Demographic Interactions In Pre-Industrial England," Working Papers in Economic History wh060601, Universidad Carlos III, Instituto Figuerola de Historia y Ciencias Sociales.
  6. Lee, Ronald, 1973. "Population in Preindustrial England: An Econometric Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 581-607, November.
  7. 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.
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