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Arresting the Sword of Damocles: Dating the Transition to the Post-Malthusian Era in Denmark

Peter Jensen (), Maja Uhre Pedersen, Cristina Victoria Radu and Paul Sharp ()
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Maja Uhre Pedersen: University of Southern Denmark
Cristina Victoria Radu: University of Southern Denmark

No 182, Working Papers from European Historical Economics Society (EHES)

Abstract: Unified Growth Theory postulates a transition from a Malthusian to a post-Malthusian era and finally to modern economic growth. Previous studies have been able to date the end of the post-Malthusian era, but none have conclusively established the timing of the end of the Malthusian era and thus transition to the post-Malthusian era. We consider the case of Denmark, which was characterized by extreme resource and environmental constraints until the final decades of the eighteenth century and thus presents a good candidate for a purely Malthusian society. We employ a cointegrated VAR model on Danish data from ca. 1733-1800, finding that evidence for diminishing returns, which characterize the “pure” Malthusian era, disappears after 1775, consistent with an increasing pace of technological progress.

Keywords: Cointegration; Denmark; Malthusian; post-Malthusian (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J1 N33 O4 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 18 pages
Date: 2020-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-env, nep-gro, nep-his and nep-ore
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