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From stagnation to growth: Revisiting three historical regimes


This paper explores the role of mortality in the long transition from Malthusian stagnation to sustained economic growth. An endogenous child mortality rate that varies inversely with parents’ standard of living is added to the framework in Galor and Weil (AER 2000). In our version of the model, the transition from stagnation to growth, triggered by an exogenous shock to technology, comprises a ‘mortality revolution’ succeeded by a ‘demographic transition’.

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Correspondence to Jacob L. Weisdorf.

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This paper has benefitted from discussions with and suggestions made by KarlGunnar Persson, Christian Schultz, and, particularly, Christian Groth at the University of Copenhagen. I gratefully acknowledge the insightful criticisms of two anonymous referees, and I thank Paula Madsen for English proof-reading. Responsible editor: Alessandro Cigno.

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Weisdorf, J. From stagnation to growth: Revisiting three historical regimes. J Popul Econ 17, 455–472 (2004).

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JEL classification

  • E10
  • J10
  • O40

Key words

  • Demographic transition
  • long-run growth
  • malthusian trap