IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Malthusian Trap and Endogenous Population

  • Hung, Nguyen Manh


  • Makdissi, Paul

In this paper, we develop a model in which human being constitutes the sole asset and is a production factor which can be combined with a fixed factor, say land, to produce a homogeneous commodity. Saving, so to speak, can only be made through having children, the number of which is an endogenous decision to the household. We show that the economy will run into the Malthusian equilibrium with high population and subsistent per capita consumption only when the initial population is large enough. Otherwise, the steady state equilibrium with lower population and higher per capita consumption than the Malthusian outcome will prevail. Also, we have identified the persistent Malthusian equilibrium - or Malthusian trap - and demonstrate that the economy can escape from this unappealing long run situation either through a suitable technological shift or an appropriate subsidy of the child-rearing cost. Our results are then extended to the stochastic framework where the time rate of population change undergoes a process of Brownian motion. The probability distribution of the steady state is well determined, and saving via the number of offsprings, as with the standard capital model, incorporates a precautionary component. Nous développons un modèle dans lequel l'être humain constitue le seul actif et est un facteur de production accumulable qui peut être combiné avec un autre facteur en quantité fixe, la terre, pour produire un bien homogène. L'épargne dans un tel modèle ne peut se faire que sous la forme d'enfants dont le nombre est une décision endogène pour le ménage. Nous démontrons que l'économie ne converge vers un équilibre malthusien avec un niveau de population élevé et un niveau de consommation de subsistance que si la population initiale est suffisamment nombreuse. Autrement, un état stationnaire avec une population moins nombreuse et une consommation per capita plus élevée prévaudra. Nous avons de plus identifié l'équilibre malthusien persistant - ou piège malthusien - et démontré que l'économie peut s'échapper de cette situation de long terme via un choc technologique suffisamment important ou via un subside approprié du coût d'élever des enfants. Nous étendons nos résultats … un cadre stochastique où le taux de croissance de la population est sujet … un mouvement brownien. La distribution … l'état stationnaire est déterminé et l'épargne via le nombre d'enfants, tout comme dans les modèles d'accumulation de capital standard, inclut une composante de précaution.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Université Laval - Département d'économique in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 9705.

in new window

Date of creation: 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lvl:laeccr:9705
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Pavillon J.A. De Sève, Québec, Québec, G1K 7P4

Phone: (418) 656-5122
Fax: (418) 656-2707
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lvl:laeccr:9705. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Manuel Paradis)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.