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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. Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, 2002. "Does the Mortality Decline Promote Economic Growth?," Macroeconomics 0212008, EconWPA.
  2. Eckstein, Z. & Mira, P. & Wolpin, K.I., 1997. "A Quantitative Analysis of Swidish Fertility Dynamics : 1751-1990," Papers 22-97, Tel Aviv.
  3. Raouf Boucekkine & David de la Croix & Dominique Peeters, 2004. "Early Literacy Achievements, Population Density and the Transition to Modern Growth," 2004 Meeting Papers 426, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Carlino, Gerald A. & Chatterjee, Satyajit & Hunt, Robert M., 2007. "Urban density and the rate of invention," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 389-419, May.
  5. Oded Galor, 2004. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," GE, Growth, Math methods 0409003, EconWPA.
  6. Robert Tamura, 2004. "Human capital and economic development," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2004-34, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  7. 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.
  8. Matthias Doepke, 2005. "Child mortality and fertility decline: Does the Barro-Becker model fit the facts?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 18(2), pages 337-366, 06.
  9. 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).
  10. Rodrigo Reis Soares, 2006. "On the determinants of mortality reductions in the developing world," Textos para discussão 529, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
  11. 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.
  12. Michael Kremer, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716.
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