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

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  • 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
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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).
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.

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    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

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