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The physiological foundations of the wealth of nations

Carl-Johan Dalgaard () and Holger Strulik ()

Journal of Economic Growth, 2015, vol. 20, issue 1, 37-73

Abstract: In the present paper we advance a theory of pre-industrial growth where body size and population size are endogenously determined. Despite the fact that parents invest in both child quantity and productivity enhancing child quality, a take-off does not occur due to a key “physiological check”: if human body size rises, subsistence requirements will increase. This mechanism turns out to be instrumental in explaining why income stagnates near an endogenously determined subsistence boundary. Key predictions of the model are examined using data for ethnic groups as well as for sub-national regions. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Keywords: Malthusian stagnation; Subsistence; Nutrition; Body size; Population growth; O11; I12; J13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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Related works:
Working Paper: The Physiological Foundations of the Wealth of Nations (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: The Physiological Foundations of the Wealth of Nations (2010) Downloads
Working Paper: The Physiological Foundations of the Wealth of Nations (2010) Downloads
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