Malthus in Cointegration Space: A new look at living standards and population in pre-industrial England
We analyze Malthus' (1798) model when labor demand shifts persistently. The Malthusian ideas are formalized and derived in terms of stationarity and cointegration, and the implied restrictions are tested against English pre-industrial data 1560-1760. The evidence suggests a negligible marginal productivity effect of population on real income, implying that the Malthusian "check" relations should be analyzed as cointegrating relations. The data support highly significant preventive checks working via marriages, but weak (in-significant) positive checks. These results are remarkably clear-cut. We suggest a simple interpretation for the lack of response of real income to population, which is consistent with positive feed back effects from population on technology, à la Boserupian- and/or Smithian mechanisms. Recursive estimation confirms stable parameters and identify the end of our modified Malthusian regime.
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