The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Malthusian Economy

  • Gregory Clark
Reference work entry


The Malthusian economy was the economic system that characterized almost all economies before the industrial revolution. In this regime fertility and mortality rates at different material income levels determined the average real income level and life expectancy at birth. Thus before 1800 the improvement of production technologies resulted only in population growth, and not in any gains in material living conditions beyond those that were found in the original hunter gatherer societies.


Anthropometric history Birth and death rates Fertility Historical demography Industrial revolution Malthus, T. Malthusian economy Population growth Technology schedule 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregory Clark
    • 1
  1. 1.