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Population and Ideas: A Theory of Endogenous Growth


  • Charles I. Jones


December 3, 1998 -- Version 4.0 All growth models are linear in some sense, and the endogenous growth literature can be read as the search for the appropriate linear differential equation. Linearity is a "crucial" assumption, in the sense used by Solow (1956), and it therefore seems reasonable to ask that this assumption have an intuitive and compelling justification. This paper proposes that such a justification can be found if the linearity is located in an endogenous fertility equation. It is a fact of nature that the law of motion for population is linear: people reproduce in proportion to their number. By itself, this linearity will not generate per capita growth, but it is nevertheless the first crucial ingredient of such a model. The second crucial ingredient is increasing returns to scale. A justification for increasing returns, rather than linearity in the equation for technological progress, is the fundamental insight of the idea-based growth literature according to this view. Endogenous fertility together with increasing returns generates endogenous growth.
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Suggested Citation

  • Charles I. Jones, "undated". "Population and Ideas: A Theory of Endogenous Growth," Working Papers 97018, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:stanec:97018

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
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    19. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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    JEL classification:

    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General


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