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Early and Late Demographic Transitions: the Role of Urbanization

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  • Cuberes, David

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Cuberes, David, 2009. "Early and Late Demographic Transitions: the Role of Urbanization," MPRA Paper 17720, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:17720
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/17720/1/MPRA_paper_17720.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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, March.
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    4. Zvi Eckstein & Pedro Mira & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1999. "A Quantitative Analysis of Swedish Fertility Dynamics: 1751-1990," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(1), pages 137-165, January.
    5. Galor, Oded, 2005. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 171-293 Elsevier.
    6. 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.
    7. David de la Croix & Thomas Lindh & Bo Malmberg, 2008. "Swedish economic growth and education since 1800," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(1), pages 166-185, February.
    8. Tamura, Robert, 2006. "Human capital and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 26-72, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. David Mayer-Foulkes, 2011. "Urbanization as a Fundamental Cause of Development," Working papers DTE 501, CIDE, División de Economía.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    urbanization; demographic transition; rural-urban migration; Malthusian traps;

    JEL classification:

    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • N90 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - General, International, or Comparative

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