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Subsistence: A Bio-economic Foundation of the Malthusian Equilibrium

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  • Strulik, Holger
  • Dalgaard, Carl-Johan

Abstract

This paper develops a bio-economic Malthusian growth model. By integrating recent research on allometric scaling, energy consumption, and ontogenetic growth we provide a model where subsistence consumption is endogenously linked to body mass and fertility. The theory admits a two-dimensional Malthusian equilibrium characterized by population density and body mass (metabolic rate) of the representative adult. As a result, the analysis allows us to examine the link between, in particular, human biology and long run income, body mass and population size. Off the steady-state we investigate the possibility of cyclical behavior of the size of a population and the size of its representative member. We also demonstrate that a take-off into sustained growth should be associated with increasing income, population size, and body mass. The increase in the latter is, however, bounded and can be viewed as convergence to a biologically determined upper limit.

Suggested Citation

  • Strulik, Holger & Dalgaard, Carl-Johan, 2007. "Subsistence: A Bio-economic Foundation of the Malthusian Equilibrium," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Göttingen 2007 31, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec07:6554
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    Cited by:

    1. David de la Croix & Omar Licandro, 2013. "The Child is Father Of the Man: Implications for the Demographic Transition," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(567), pages 236-261, March.
    2. Strulik, Holger, 2008. "Geography, health, and the pace of demo-economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 61-75, April.
    3. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Holger Strulik, 2007. "Rediscovering the Solow Model: An Energy Network Approach," Discussion Papers 07-09, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Subsistence; Nutrition; Metabolism; Population Growth; Ontogenetic Growth; Malthus;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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