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Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch

  • Quamrul Ashraf
  • Oded Galor

This paper examines the central hypothesis of the influential Malthusian theory, according to which improvements in the technological environment during the pre-industrial era had generated only temporary gains in income per capita, eventually leading to a larger, but not significantly richer, population. Exploiting exogenous sources of cross-country variations in land productivity and the level of technological advancement the analysis demonstrates that, in accordance with the theory, technological superiority and higher land productivity had significant positive effects on population density but insignificant effects on the standard of living, during the time period 1-1500 CE.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17037.

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Date of creation: May 2011
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Publication status: published as Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2003-41, August.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17037
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