IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

How Substitutable are Fixed Factors in Production? Evidence from Pre-industrial England

  • Joshua Wilde

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of South Florida)

The extent to which fixed factors of production such as land constrain per-capita income growth has been a widely discussed topic in economics since at least Malthus (1798). Whether fixed factors limit growth depends crucially on two variables: the substitutability of fixed factors in production, and the extent to which innovation will be biased towards land-saving technologies. However, there are few estimates of either variable, and most models assume this elasticity of substitution is unity out of con- venience. This paper attempts to fill that gap in the literature. Using the timing of plague epidemics as an instrument for labor supply, this paper estimates the elasticity of substitution between fixed and non-fixed factors in pre-industrial England. I find that the elasticity of substitution between land and other factors during this period was signicantly less than one, which implies that the Malthusian effects of population on income were stronger than current models predict. In addition, I am able to esti- mate the direction and magnitude of induced innovation. I find evidence that denser populations -- and hence higher land scarcity -- induced innovation towards land-saving technologies. Specically, I find that a doubling of population density in England from its year 1500 level raises the difference in the growth rates of land- and labor-enhancing productivity by 0.22% per year.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://economics.usf.edu/PDF/Substitutability_1.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of South Florida, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0113.

as
in new window

Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:usf:wpaper:0113
Contact details of provider: Postal:
4202 East Fowler Avenue, CPR107, Tampa, Florida, USA 33620-5500

Phone: (813) 974-4252
Fax: (813) 974-6510
Web page: http://economics.usf.edu/

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Matthias Doepke, 2001. "Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth," UCLA Economics Working Papers 804, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Quamrul H. Ashraf & David N. Weil & Joshua Wilde, 2011. "The Effect of Fertility Reduction on Economic Growth," Center for Development Economics 2011-07, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Feb 2013.
  3. Quamrul Ashraf & Ashley Lester & David Weil, 2008. "When Does Improving Health Raise GDP?," Working Papers 2008-7, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  4. Nico Voigtländer & Joachim Voth, 2008. "How the West "invented" fertility restriction," Economics Working Papers 1264, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Dec 2012.
  5. O'Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj & Rahman, Ahmed & Taylor, Alan M., 2008. "Luddites and the Demographic Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers 7045, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Kevin O’rourke & Jeffrey Williamson, 2005. "From Malthus to Ohlin: Trade, Industrialisation and Distribution Since 1500," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 5-34, 01.
  7. Dietrich Vollrath, 2011. "The agricultural basis of comparative development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 343-370, December.
  8. 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.
  9. Joel Mokyr & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2012. "Understanding Growth in Europe, 1700–1870: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Sociology, National Research University Higher School of Economics, vol. 13(5), pages 57-102.
  10. 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.
  11. Oded_Galor, 2004. "The Demographic Transition and the Emergence of Sustained Economic Growth," Working Papers 2004-13, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  12. Xavier Sala-i-Martín & Arvind Subramanian, 2003. "Addressing the natural resource curse: An illustration from Nigeria," Economics Working Papers 685, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  13. Nils-Petter Lagerloef, 2002. "Mortality and early growth in England, France, and Sweden," Macroeconomics 0212010, EconWPA.
  14. David N. Weil & Joshua Wilde, 2009. "How Relevant Is Malthus for Economic Development Today?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 255-60, May.
  15. Ronald Lee, 1973. "Population in Preindustrial England: An Econometric Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(4), pages 581-607.
  16. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2000. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," Arbetsrapport 2000:5, Institute for Futures Studies.
  17. 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.
  18. Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2006. "Why England? Demographic factors, structural change and physical capital accumulation during the Industrial Revolution," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_003, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  19. Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1999. "Real wages, inequality and globalization in latin america before 1940," Revista de Historia Económica, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(S1), pages 101-142, March.
  20. Michael Alexeev & Robert Conrad, 2009. "The Elusive Curse of Oil," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 586-598, August.
  21. 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.
  22. Wolfgang F. Stolper & Paul A. Samuelson, 1941. "Protection and Real Wages," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 58-73.
  23. Jean-Paul Chavas & Daniel W. Bromley, 2005. "Modelling Population and Resource Scarcity in Fourteenth-century England," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 217-237.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:usf:wpaper:0113. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joshua Wilde)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.