Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch
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.
The authors are grateful to a co-editor, four anonymous referees, and Yona Rubinstein for detailed and insightful comments, and to David de la Croix, Peter Howitt, Oksana Leukhina, Ross Levine, Joachim Voth, and David Weil for helpful suggestions. Nathan Greenberg provided able research assistance. Financial support from the Watson Institute at Brown University is gratefully acknowledged. Galor's research is supported by NSF grant SES-0921573. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2003-41, August. citation courtesy of