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Birth, Death, and Development: A Simple Unified Growth Theory

  • Holger Strulik

    (University of Hannover)

  • Jacob Weisdorf

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

This study provides a unified growth theory to correctly predict the initially negative and subsequently positive relationship between child mortality and net reproduction observed in industrialized countries over the course of their demographic transitions. The model captures the intricate interplay between technological progress, mortality, fertility and economic growth in the transition from Malthusian stagnation to modern growth. It identifies a number of structural breaks over the course of development, suggesting a high degree of complexity regarding the relationships between various economic and demographic variables.

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File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/english/research/publications/wp/2008/0832.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 08-32.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:0832
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  1. Ben S. Bernanke & Refet S. Gurkaynak, 2001. "Is Growth Exogenous? Taking Mankiw, Romer and Weil Seriously," NBER Working Papers 8365, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kogel, Tomas & Prskawetz, Alexia, 2001. " Agricultural Productivity Growth and Escape from the Malthusian Trap," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 337-57, December.
  3. Boucekkine, Raouf & de la Croix, David & Licandro, Omar, 2002. "Vintage Human Capital, Demographic Trends, and Endogenous Growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(2), pages 340-375, June.
  4. Robert J. Barro & Gary S. Becker, . "Fertility Choice in a Model of Economic Growth," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 88-8, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  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. Oded_Galor, 2004. "From Stagnation to Growth:Unified Growth Theory," Working Papers 2004-15, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  7. Nils-Petter Lagerlöf, 2003. "From Malthus to Modern Growth: Can Epidemics Explain the Three Regimes?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(2), pages 755-777, 05.
  8. Isaac Ehrlich & Jinyoung Kim, 2005. "Endogenous Fertility, Mortality and Economic Growth: Can a Malthusian Framework Account for the Conflicting Historical Trends in Population?," NBER Working Papers 11590, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Matthias Doepke, 2004. "Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 347-383, 09.
  10. Cervellati, Matteo & Sunde, Uwe, 2007. "Human Capital, Mortality and Fertility: A Unified Theory of the Economic and Demographic Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers 6384, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2001. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2727, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  13. Oded Galor & David N. Weil, 1998. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From the Malthusian Regime to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," NBER Working Papers 6811, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Was an Industrial Revolution Inevitable? Economic Growth Over the Very Long Run," NBER Working Papers 7375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Rodrigo R. Soares, 2005. "Mortality Reductions, Educational Attainment, and Fertility Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 580-601, June.
  16. Weisdorf, Jacob L., 2008. "Malthus revisited: Fertility decision making based on quasi-linear preferences," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 127-130, April.
  17. Nils-Petter Lagerloef, 2000. "From Malthus to Modern Growth: The Three Regimes Revisited," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1248, Econometric Society.
  18. Oded Galor & Andrew Mountford, 2008. "Trading Population for Productivity: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2008-2, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  19. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Jaypee Sevilla, 2001. "Economic Growth and the Demographic Transition," NBER Working Papers 8685, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Becker, Gary S & Barro, Robert J, 1988. "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(1), pages 1-25, February.
  21. Kalemli-Ozcan, Sebnem, 2002. " Does the Mortality Decline Promote Economic Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 411-39, December.
  22. Kalemli-Ozcan, Sebnem & Ryder, Harl E. & Weil, David N., 2000. "Mortality decline, human capital investment, and economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 1-23, June.
  23. Holger Strulik & Jacob Weisdorf, 2008. "Population, food, and knowledge: a simple unified growth theory," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 195-216, September.
  24. Strulik, Holger, 2008. "Geography, health, and the pace of demo-economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 61-75, April.
  25. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
  26. Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2004. "From stagnation to growth: Revisiting three historical regimes," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 455-472, 08.
  27. Leonid Azarnert, 2006. "Child mortality, fertility, and human capital accumulation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 285-297, June.
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