IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/zur/iewwpx/477.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Malthus was right: new evidence from a time-varying VAR

Author

Listed:
  • Alexander Rathke
  • Samad Sarferaz

Abstract

Although Unified Growth Theory presumes the existence of the Maltusian mechanism in pre-industrial England recent empirical studies challenged this assumption. This paper studies the interaction of vital rates and real wages in the period from 1540 to 1870 in England. We employ time-varying VARs, an approach which addresses potential shortcomings such as parameter instability and declining volatilities in the previous literature. In contrast to recent studies, the main Malthusian mechanisms - the preventive and the positive check - were both at work until the mid-19th century. The preventive check was decreasing and the positive check increasing in importance. Most remarkably, the positive check dominated after the 1750s. The results indicate that instead of disappearing before the advent of the industrial revolution, the Malthusian mechanism rather changed its face over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Rathke & Samad Sarferaz, 2010. "Malthus was right: new evidence from a time-varying VAR," IEW - Working Papers 477, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:477
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.econ.uzh.ch/apps/workingpapers/wp/iewwp477.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John Komlos, 1993. "The secular trend in the biological standard of living in the United Kingdom, 1730-1860," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 46(1), pages 115-144, February.
    2. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2002. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 117(4), pages 1133-1191.
    3. John Komlos & Marc Artzrouni, "undated". ""Population Growth through History and the Escape from the Malthusian Trap: A Homeostatic Simulation Model," Articles by John Komlos 34, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
    4. Broadberry Stephen, 2012. "Recent Developments in the Theory of Very Long Run Growth: A Historical Appraisal," Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, De Gruyter, vol. 53(1), pages 277-306, May.
    5. Jones Charles I., 2001. "Was an Industrial Revolution Inevitable? Economic Growth Over the Very Long Run," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-45, August.
    6. Oded Galor, 2010. "The 2008 Lawrence R. Klein Lecture-Comparative Economic Development: Insights From Unified Growth Theory," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(1), pages 1-44, February.
    7. 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.
    8. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Malthus to Solow," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1205-1217, September.
    9. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2003-2041, August.
    10. Sangjoon Kim & Neil Shephard & Siddhartha Chib, 1998. "Stochastic Volatility: Likelihood Inference and Comparison with ARCH Models," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 65(3), pages 361-393.
    11. John Komlos & Marc Artzrouni, "undated". "Mathematical Investigations of the Escape from the Malthusian Trap," Articles by John Komlos 24, Department of Economics, University of Munich.
    12. Crafts, Nicholas & Mills, Terence C., 2009. "From Malthus to Solow: How did the Malthusian economy really evolve?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 68-93, March.
    13. Smith M. & Kohn R., 2002. "Parsimonious Covariance Matrix Estimation for Longitudinal Data," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 97, pages 1141-1153, December.
    14. Paul Johnson & Stephen Nicholas, 1995. "Male and female living standards in England and Wales, 1812-1867: evidence from criminal height records," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 48(3), pages 470-481, August.
    15. Nicholas, Stephen & Steckel, Richard H., 1991. "Heights and Living Standards of English Workers During the Early Years of Industrializations, 1770–1815," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(4), pages 937-957, December.
    16. Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2005. "Time Varying Structural Vector Autoregressions and Monetary Policy," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 72(3), pages 821-852.
    17. Komlos, John, 1998. "Shrinking in a Growing Economy? The Mystery of Physical Stature during the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(03), pages 779-802, September.
    18. 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.
    19. Matteo Cervellati & Uwe Sunde, 2005. "Human Capital Formation, Life Expectancy, and the Process of Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1653-1672, December.
    20. Artzrouni, Marc & Komlos, John, 1985. "Population Growth Through History and the Escape from the Malthusian Trap," Munich Reprints in Economics 3428, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    21. Allen, Robert C., 2001. "The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 411-447, October.
    22. Nicolini, Esteban A., 2007. "Was Malthus right? A VAR analysis of economic and demographic interactions in pre-industrial England," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 99-121, April.
    23. Tamura, Robert, 2002. "Human capital and the switch from agriculture to industry," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 207-242, December.
    24. 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.
    25. Michael Kremer, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716.
    26. Ronald Lee, 1973. "Population in Preindustrial England: An Econometric Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 87(4), pages 581-607.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Jensen, Peter Sandholt & Pedersen, Maja Uhre & Radu, Cristina Victoria & Sharp, Paul Richard, 2022. "Arresting the Sword of Damocles: The transition to the post-Malthusian era in Denmark," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
    2. van de Ven, Dirk Jan & Fouquet, Roger, 2017. "Historical energy price shocks and their changing effects on the economy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 204-216.
    3. Peter Sandholt Jensen & Maja Uhre Pedersen & Cristina Victoria Radu & Paul Richard Sharp, 2020. "Arresting the Sword of Damocles: Dating the Transition to the Post-Malthusian Era in Denmark," Working Papers 0182, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    4. Ulrich Pfister & Georg Fertig, 2010. "The population history of Germany: research strategy and preliminary results," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2010-035, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    5. Marc Klemp & Niels Framroze Møller, 2016. "Post-Malthusian Dynamics in Pre-Industrial Scandinavia," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 118(4), pages 841-867, October.
    6. Guangxi Cao, 2012. "Time-Varying Effects of Changes in the Interest Rate and the RMB Exchange Rate on the Stock Market of China: Evidence from the Long-Memory TVP-VAR Model," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(0), pages 230-248, July.
    7. Edvinsson, Rodney, 2015. "Pre-industrial population and economic growth: Was there a Malthusian mechanism in Sweden?," Stockholm Papers in Economic History 17, Stockholm University, Department of Economic History.
    8. Alan Fernihough, 2013. "Malthusian Dynamics in a Diverging Europe: Northern Italy, 1650–1881," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(1), pages 311-332, February.
    9. D.O. Olayungbo & A.E. Akinlo, 2016. "Insurance penetration and economic growth in Africa: Dynamic effects analysis using Bayesian TVP-VAR approach," Cogent Economics & Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 1150390-115, December.
    10. Poyesh Bahadori Jahromi & Hojatallah Goudarzi, 2014. "The Study of Co-Integration and Casual Relationship Between Macroeconomic Variables and Insurance Penetration Ratio," Asian Economic and Financial Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 4(7), pages 853-863, July.
    11. Stefan Houpt & Juan Carlos Rojo Cagigal, 2012. "Hunger in Hell’s Kitchen: real wages and deprivation in Spain’s early industrialisation - the Bilbao Estuary, 1914-35," Working Papers 12025, Economic History Society.
    12. Rodney Benjamin Edvinsson, 2017. "The response of vital rates to harvest fluctuations in pre-industrial Sweden," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 11(2), pages 245-268, May.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Alexander Rathke & Samad Sarferaz, 2014. "Malthus and the Industrial Revolution: Evidence from a Time-Varying VAR," CESifo Working Paper Series 4667, CESifo.
    2. Alexander Rathke & Samad Sarferaz, 2014. "Malthus and the Industrial Revolution," KOF Working papers 14-351, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    3. Madsen, Jakob B. & Robertson, Peter E. & Ye, Longfeng, 2019. "Malthus was right: Explaining a millennium of stagnation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 51-68.
    4. Voth, Hans-Joachim & Voigtländer, Nico, 2009. "The Three Horsemen of Growth: Plague, War and Urbanization in Early Modern Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 7275, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Hans-Joachim Voth, 2013. "The Three Horsemen of Riches: Plague, War, and Urbanization in Early Modern Europe," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 80(2), pages 774-811.
    6. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2003-2041, August.
    7. Chiarini, Bruno, 2010. "Was Malthus right? The relationship between population and real wages in Italian history, 1320 to 1870," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 460-475, October.
    8. Ron W. NIELSEN, 2017. "Changing the direction of the economic and demographic research," Journal of Economics Library, KSP Journals, vol. 4(3), pages 288-309, September.
    9. Broadberry Stephen, 2012. "Recent Developments in the Theory of Very Long Run Growth: A Historical Appraisal," Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, De Gruyter, vol. 53(1), pages 277-306, May.
    10. Oded Galor, 2010. "The 2008 Lawrence R. Klein Lecture-Comparative Economic Development: Insights From Unified Growth Theory," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(1), pages 1-44, February.
    11. Ho, Chi Pui, 2016. "Industrious Selection: Explaining Five Revolutions and Two Divergences in Eurasian Economic History within a Unified Growth Framework," MPRA Paper 73862, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Galor, Oded & Ashraf, Quamrul, 2008. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 7057, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Michael Bar & Oksana Leukhina, 2010. "The role of mortality in the transmission of knowledge," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 291-321, December.
    14. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Holger Strulik, 2015. "The physiological foundations of the wealth of nations," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 37-73, March.
    15. Greif, Avner & Iyigun, Murat & Sasson, Diego, 2011. "Risk, Institutions and Growth: Why England and Not China?," IZA Discussion Papers 5598, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. 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.
    17. Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2006. "Why England? Demographic factors, structural change and physical capital accumulation during the Industrial Revolution," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 319-361, December.
    18. Jianchoun Dou, 2021. "Variety, Fertility, and Long-term Economic Growth," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2021020, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    19. Lehmann-Hasemeyer, Sibylle H. & Prettner, Klaus & Tscheuschner, Paul, 2020. "The scientific revolution and its role in the transition to sustained economic growth," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 06-2020, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    20. Rohan Dutta & David K. Levine & Nicholas W. Papageorge & Lemin Wu, 2018. "Entertaining Malthus: Bread, Circuses, And Economic Growth," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 56(1), pages 358-380, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Industrial revolution; Malthusian trap; time-varying vector autoregression; unified growth theory;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:477. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Severin Oswald (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.