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Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990

Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990 Abstract The nonrivalry of technology, as modeled in the endogenous growth Uterature, implies that high population spurs technological change. This paper constructs and empirically tests a model of long-run world population growth combining this implication with the Malthusian assumption that technology limits population. The model predicts that over most of history, the growth rate of population will be proportional to its level. Empirical tests support this prediction and show that historically, among societies with no possibility for technological contact, those with larger initial populations have had faster technological change and population growth. * I am grateful to Gene Grossman, Charles Jones, Gregory Mankiw, Paul Romer, Xavier Sala-i-Martin, James Thomson, many former classmates, an anonymous referee, and especially Robert Barro and Elhanan Helpman for assistance with this paper. Participants in seminars at Brown University, University of Chicago, Harvard University, and Yale University, and at the AEA meetings and the NBER Economic Growth and Economic Fluctuations Meetings provided useful comments. Jill Woodworth provided capable research assistance. I was supported by a National Science Foundation graduate fellowship while writing this paper. This content is only available as a PDF. © 1993 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Quarterly Journal of Economics Oxford University Press

Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990

The Quarterly Journal of Economics , Volume 108 (3) – Aug 1, 1993

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References (29)

Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© 1993 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
ISSN
0033-5533
eISSN
1531-4650
DOI
10.2307/2118405
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract The nonrivalry of technology, as modeled in the endogenous growth Uterature, implies that high population spurs technological change. This paper constructs and empirically tests a model of long-run world population growth combining this implication with the Malthusian assumption that technology limits population. The model predicts that over most of history, the growth rate of population will be proportional to its level. Empirical tests support this prediction and show that historically, among societies with no possibility for technological contact, those with larger initial populations have had faster technological change and population growth. * I am grateful to Gene Grossman, Charles Jones, Gregory Mankiw, Paul Romer, Xavier Sala-i-Martin, James Thomson, many former classmates, an anonymous referee, and especially Robert Barro and Elhanan Helpman for assistance with this paper. Participants in seminars at Brown University, University of Chicago, Harvard University, and Yale University, and at the AEA meetings and the NBER Economic Growth and Economic Fluctuations Meetings provided useful comments. Jill Woodworth provided capable research assistance. I was supported by a National Science Foundation graduate fellowship while writing this paper. This content is only available as a PDF. © 1993 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Journal

The Quarterly Journal of EconomicsOxford University Press

Published: Aug 1, 1993

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