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The Determinants of Subsistence Income in a Malthusian World

Paul Sharp (), Holger Strulik () and Jacob Weisdorf

Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series from Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University

Abstract: This study constructs a simple, two-sector Malthusian model with agriculture and industry, and uses it to identify the determinants of subsistence income. We make standard assumptions about preferences and production technology, but in contrast to existing studies we assume that children and other consumption goods are gross substitutes. Consistent with the conventional Malthusian model, the present theory shows that productivity growth in agriculture has no effect on subsistence income. More importantly, we also show that subsistence income varies, not just with the death rate as has recently been demonstrated in the literature, but also with the level of productivity in the industrial sector. An empirical analysis using data for pre-industrial England lends support to both hypotheses.

Keywords: Malthusian Model; Subsistence Income (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J13 N1 O11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010-03
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Working Paper: The Determinants of Subsistence Income in a Malthusian World (2009) Downloads
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