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Early and Late Demographic Transitions: the Role of Urbanization

  • Cuberes, David

This paper uses new estimates of the dates on which different countries have experienced their demographic transition to address two empirical questions. First, I study the importance of different socioeconomic variables on the timing of these transitions. Second, I distinguish between countries that have experienced early and late demographic transitions and compare their relative income around the transition date. My results indicate that the size of a country’s urban population plays a crucial role in triggering its demographic transition. In particular, after controlling for income and total population, more urbanized countries tend to experience an earlier demographic transition. Moreover, countries that experience an early demographic transition (before 1950) are much richer than latecomers, suggesting that urbanization plays a more important role than income in the latter. One interpretation of these results is that a country’s level of income and rate of urbanization are substitutable factors that trigger the country’s demographic transition. Finally, if one accepts the premise that urban agglomerations enhance both technological progress and the demand for human capital, the results provide indirect support for theories that highlight these factors as triggers of the demographic transition or the escape from Malthusian traps.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 17720.

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Date of creation: Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:17720
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  1. Galor, Oded, 2004. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 4581, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Rodrigo Reis Soares, 2006. "On the determinants of mortality reductions in the developing world," Textos para discussão 529, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
  3. Eckstein, Zvi & Mira, Pedro Solbes & Wolpin, Kenneth, 1998. "A Quantative Analysis of Swedish Fertility Dynamics: 1751-1990," CEPR Discussion Papers 1832, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Raouf Boucekkine & David de la Croix & Dominique Peeters, 2007. "Early Literacy Achievements, Population Density, and the Transition to Modern Growth," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(1), pages 183-226, 03.
  5. Matthias Doepke, 2005. "Child mortality and fertility decline: Does the Barro-Becker model fit the facts?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 337-366, 06.
  6. Gerald Carlino & Satyajit Chatterjee & Robert Hunt, 2006. "Urban density and the rate of invention," Working Papers 06-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  7. 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.
  8. DE LA CROIX, David & LINDH, Thomas & MALMBERG, Bo, . "Swedish economic growth and education since 1800," CORE Discussion Papers RP -2063, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  9. Kalemli-Ozcan, Sebnem, 2002. " Does the Mortality Decline Promote Economic Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 411-39, December.
  10. 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.
  11. Tamura, Robert, 2006. "Human capital and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 26-72, February.
  12. Eckstein, Z. & Mira, P. & Wolpin, K.I., 1997. "A Quantitative Analysis of Swidish Fertility Dynamics : 1751-1990," Papers 22-97, Tel Aviv.
  13. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521117562 is not listed on IDEAS
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