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Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch: Theory and Evidence

58 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2008  

Quamrul H. Ashraf

Williams College - Department of Economics

Oded Galor

Brown University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: November 2008

Abstract

This paper empirically tests the predictions of the Malthusian theory with respect to both population dynamics and income per capita stagnation in the pre-Industrial Revolution era. The theory suggests that improvements in technology during this period generated only temporary gains in income per capita, eventually leading to a larger but not richer population. Using exogenous cross-country variations in land productivity and the timing of the Neolithic Revolution, the analysis demonstrates that, in accordance with the Malthusian theory, societies that were characterized by higher land productivity and an earlier onset of agriculture had higher population densities, but similar standards of living, during the time period 1-1500 CE.

Keywords: Land, Malthusian Stagnation, Population Dynamics, Technological Progress

JEL Classification: N10, N30, N50, O10, O40, O50

Suggested Citation

Ashraf, Quamrul H. and Galor, Oded, Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch: Theory and Evidence (November 2008). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP7057. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1311181

Quamrul H. Ashraf

Williams College - Department of Economics ( email )

Fernald House
Williamstown, MA 01267
United States

Oded Galor (Contact Author)

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

Providence, RI 02912
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.brown.edu/fac/Oded_Galor/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.brown.edu/fac/Oded_Galor/

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