Luddites and the Demographic Transition

40 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2008  

Kevin H. O'Rourke

University of Dublin, Trinity College; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Ahmed Rahman

United States Naval Academy

Alan M. Taylor

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics; University of Virginia - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2008

Abstract

Technological change was unskilled-labor-biased during the early Industrial Revolution, but is skill-biased today. This is not embedded in extant unified growth models. We develop a model which can endogenously account for these facts, where factor bias reflects profit-maximizing decisions by innovators. Endowments dictate that the early Industrial Revolution be unskilled-labor-biased. Increasing basic knowledge causes a growth takeoff, an income-led demand for fewer educated children, and the transition to skill-biased technological change. The simulated model tracks British industrialization in the 18th and 19th centuries and generates a demographic transition without relying on either rising skill premia or exogenous educational supply shocks.

Suggested Citation

O'Rourke, Kevin H. and Rahman, Ahmed and Taylor, Alan M., Luddites and the Demographic Transition (November 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w14484. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1301932

Kevin H. O'Rourke (Contact Author)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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University of Dublin, Trinity College ( email )

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Ahmed Rahman

United States Naval Academy ( email )

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Alan M. Taylor

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/amtaylor/

University of Virginia - Department of Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://people.virginia.edu/~amt7u

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://nber.org

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://cepr.org

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