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Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch

Quamrul Ashraf () and Oded Galor ()

No 2010-07, Center for Development Economics from Department of Economics, Williams College

Abstract: This paper examines the central hypothesis of the influential Malthusian theory, according to which improvements in the technological environment during the pre-industrial era had generated only temporary gains in income per capita, eventually leading to a larger, but not significantly richer, population. Exploiting exogenous sources of cross-country variations in land productivity and the level of technological advancement, the analysis demonstrates that, in accordance with the theory, technological superiority and higher land productivity had significant positive effects on population density but insignificant effects on the standard of living, during the time period 1-1500 CE.

Keywords: Technological Progress; Population Density; Malthusian Stagnation; Land Productivity; Neolithic Revolution (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N10 N30 N50 O10 O40 O50 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010-01, Revised 2011-05
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Published in the American Economic Review, August 2011, 101(5), pp. 2003-2041.

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