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Subsistence – A Bio-economic Foundation of the Malthusian Equilibrium

  • Carl-Johan Dalgaard

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Holger Strulik

    (University of Hannover)

This paper develops a bio-economic Malthusian growth model. By integrating recent research on allometric scaling, energy consumption, and ontogenetic growth we provide a model where subsistence consumption is endogenously linked to body mass and fertility. The theory admits a two-dimensional Malthusian equilibrium characterized by population density and body mass (metabolic rate) of the representative adult. As a result, the analysis allows us to examine the link between, in particular, human biology and long run income, body mass and population size. Off the steady-state we investigate the possibility of cyclical behavior of the size of a population and the size of its representative member. We also demonstrate that a take-off into sustained growth should be associated with increasing income, population size, and body mass. The increase in the latter is, however, bounded and can be viewed as convergence to a biologically determined upper limit.

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File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/english/research/publications/wp/2006/0617.pdf/
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Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 06-17.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:0617
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  18. Holger Strulik, 2005. "Geography, Health, and Demo-Economic Development," Discussion Papers 05-15, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
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