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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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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17037.pdf
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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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  1. Galor, Oded & Mountford, Andrew, 2006. "Trade and the Great Divergence: The Family Connection," CEPR Discussion Papers 5490, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  3. Michalopoulos, Stelios, 2008. "The Origins of Ethnolinguistic Diversity: Theory and Evidence," MPRA Paper 11531, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2000. "Natural Selection and the Origin of economic Growth," Working Papers 2000-18, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  5. Nico Voigtlander & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2009. "Malthusian Dynamism and the Rise of Europe: Make War, Not Love," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 248-54, May.
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  7. Weisdorf, Jacob, 2009. "Why did the first farmers toil? Human metabolism and the origins of agriculture," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(02), pages 157-172, August.
  8. 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.
  9. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2010. "The "Out of Africa" Hypothesis, Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development," Center for Development Economics 2010-03, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Jun 2011.
  10. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 1999. "From Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 150-154, May.
  11. Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Strulik, Holger, 2011. "The Physiological Foundations of the Wealth of Nations," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-480, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  12. Diego A. Comin & William Easterly & Erick Gong, 2008. "Was the Wealth of Nations Determined in 1000 B.C.?," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-052, Harvard Business School.
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  14. Angus Maddison, 2008. "The West and the Rest in the World Economy: 1000–2030," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 9(4), pages 75-100, October.
  15. Matthias Doepke, 2001. "Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth," UCLA Economics Working Papers 804, UCLA Department of Economics.
  16. Nils-Petter Lagerlöf, 2006. "The Galor-Weil Model Revisited: A Quantitative Exercise," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(1), pages 116-142, January.
  17. Patricia Beeson & Tara Watson & Lara Shore-Sheppard, 2010. "Local Fiscal Policies and Urban Wage Structures," Department of Economics Working Papers 2010-05, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  18. Kevin H. O'Rourke, Ahmed S. Rahman and Alan M. Taylor, 2008. "Luddites and the Demographic Transition," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp266, IIIS.
  19. Stelios Michalopoulos, 2011. "The Origins of Technolinguistic Diversity," Economics Working Papers 0095, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  20. Oded_Galor & Andrew Mountford, 2004. "Trading Population for Productivity," Working Papers 2004-16, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  21. Oded Galor & Quamrul Ashraf, 2007. "Cultural Assimilation, Cultural Diffusion and the Origin of the Wealth of Nations," Working Papers 2007-3, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  22. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
  23. Aiyar, Shekhar & Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Moav, Omer, 2006. "Technological Progress and Regress in Pre-Industrial Times," CEPR Discussion Papers 5454, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  24. Olsson, Ola & Hibbs, Douglas Jr., 2005. "Biogeography and long-run economic development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 909-938, May.
  25. Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2006. "Why England? Demographic factors, structural change and physical capital accumulation during the Industrial Revolution," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 319-361, December.
  26. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716, August.
  27. O Grada, C. & O'Rourke, K.H., 2000. "Living Standards and Growth," Papers 00/14, College Dublin, Department of Political Economy-.
  28. 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.
  29. Oded Galor & Quamrul Ashraf, 2008. "Human Genetic Diversity and Comparative Economic Development," Working Papers 2008-3, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  30. Crafts, Nicholas & Mills, Terence C., 2009. "From Malthus to Solow: How did the Malthusian economy really evolve?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 68-93, March.
  31. Oded Galor, 2010. "The 2008 Lawrence R. Klein Lecture-Comparative Economic Development: Insights From Unified Growth Theory," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(1), pages 1-44, 02.
  32. Oded Galor, 2006. "The Demographic Transition," Working Papers 2006-24, Brown University, Department of Economics.
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