Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch by Quamrul Ashraf and Oded Galor. Published in volume , issue 5, pages of American Economic. This paper empirically tests the predictions of the Malthusian theory with respect to both population dynamics and income per capita stagnation. This paper examines the central hypothesis of the influential Malthusian theory, according to which improvements in the technological environment during the.
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Regression 4 corresponds to the first stage of both regressions 3 and 6 in Table 8.
In contrast, the regressions in Columns 4—6 reveal, exploiting the same variation in explanatory variables as in the preceding income per capita regressions, that the elasticities of population density in each period with respect to Neolithic transition timing and land productivity are not only highly statistically significant, but are also larger by about an order of magnitude than the corresponding elasticities of income per capita.
Technology Index in BCE, 1 CE, and CE The index of technology for a given year is constructed using worldwide historical cross-cultural data on sector-specific levels of technology, reported on a 3-point scale by the Atlas of Cultural Evolution Peter N.
Members of generation t live for two periods. Penguin Books Ltd; Thus, the x- and y-axes plot the residuals obtained from regressing transition timing land productivity and population density, respectively, on the aforementioned set of covariates. Columns 1—2 reveal the full-sample regression results for population density in the years CE and 1 CE.
From Stagnation to Growth: The results from regressions explaining log population density in znd year CE are presented in Table 2. Table 8 presents the results of regressions examining the impact of the timing of the Neolithic Revolution on the level of non-agricultural technological sophistication in the years CE and malhhusian CE, while controlling for land productivity, absolute latitude, access to waterways, and continental fixed effects.
Blackwell Publishers Ltd; This section examines the robustness of the empirical findings to alternative theories and time-invariant country fixed effects. An Essay on the Principle of Population.
Specifically, while variations in land productivity and other geographical characteristics are inarguably exogenous to the cross-country malthusiah in population density, the onset of the Neolithic Revolution and the outcome variable dynammics interest may in fact be endogenously determined. Population, Technology, and Growth: Quamrul Ashraf and Oded Galor.
Moreover, the estimated coefficients on the additional geographical controls indicate significant effects consistent with the assertion that better access to waterways has been historically beneficial for economic development by fostering urbanization, international trade and technology diffusion. The conditional effects of Neolithic transition timing and land productivity on income per capita versus population density in the year CE are depicted as partial regression lines on the scatter plots in Figures 4 a and 4 b for income per capita, and in Figures 5 a and 5 b for population density.
As argued by Diamondan earlier onset of the Neolithic Revolution has been associated with a developmental head start that enabled the rise of a non-food-producing class whose members were essential for the advancement of written language, science and technology, and for the formation of cities, technology-based military powers and nation states.
Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch
Transition Timing, Land Productivity, and Income per Capita in CE Summary — This figure depicts the partial regression line for the effect of transition timing land productivity on income per capita in the year CE, while controlling for the influence of land productivity transition timingabsolute latitude, access to waterways, and continental fixed effects.
Column 3 presents the results from examining the combined explanatory power of the previous two regressions. Summary — This table presents the causal effect of direct measures of technological sophistication in the years CE and 1 CE, as determined by exogenous factors governing the timing of the Neolithic Revolution, on population density in the same time periods, while controlling for land productivity, access to navigable stagnatin, absolute latitude, and unobserved continental fixed effects.
The coefficient on land productivity, which maintains stability in both magnitude and statistical significance across the OLS and IV regressions, indicates that a 1 percent increase in land productivity raises population density by 0.
To interpret the causal impact of the timing of the Neolithic Revolution, a 1 percent increase in years elapsed since the onset of agriculture causes, ceteris paribusa 2.
Specifically, the relationship reported by Putterman disappears i. In addition, to address the possibility that the relationship between the timing of the Neolithic transition and population density in the Common Era may itself be spurious, being perhaps jalthusian by an unobserved channel such as human capital, the analysis appeals to the role of prehistoric biogeographical endowments in determining the timing of the Neolithic Revolution.
Production occurs according to a constant-returns-to-scale technology.
Trading Population for Productivity: In addition, while the relationship between contemporaneous changes in technology and population density or income per capita could reflect reverse causality, this endogeneity issue may be alleviated somewhat by examining the impact of the lagged change in technology on changes in population density versus income per capita.
The causal effects of the level of technological advancement in the years CE and 1 CE, instrumented by the prehistoric availability of domesticable plant and animal species, on population density in the corresponding periods are revealed in Columns 3 and 6. With respect to additional results demonstrating robustness, Table D.
Column 6 presents the IV regression results from estimating the baseline specification with log years since transition instrumented by the numbers of prehistoric domesticable species of plants and animals.
Second, the paper also establishes the importance of technological diffusion in the pre-industrial world. Thus, the analysis adopts an instrumental variables strategy, exploiting variation in the numbers of prehistoric domesticable species of plants and animals that were native to a region prior to the onset of sedentary agricultural practices as exogenous sources of variation for the number of years elapsed since the Neolithic Revolution to demonstrate its causal effect on population density in the Common Era.
This section demonstrates the significant positive effects of land productivity and the level of technological advancement, as proxied by the timing of the Neolithic Revolution, on population density in the years CE and 1 CE. 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.
While living standards in the world economy stagnated during the millennia preceding the Industrial Revolution, income per capita has encountered an unprecedented ten-fold increase in the past two centuries, profoundly altering the level and the distribution of education, health and wealth across the globe. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
EconPapers: Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch
Accordingly, if population size has a positive effect on the rate of technological progress, as argued by Ester Boserupthis effect should manifest itself as a proportional effect on the rate of population growth, taking as given the positive Malthusian feedback from technology to population size.
Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Specifically, although reverse causality is not a source of concern, given that the vast majority of countries underwent the Neolithic transition prior to the Common Era, the OLS estimates of the effect of the time elapsed since the transition to agriculture may suffer from omitted variable bias, reflecting spurious correlations with the outcome variable being examined.