Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

Series Foreword

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pp. vii-viii

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Overview

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pp. ix-x

During the past 200 years, the Western world has experienced fundamental changes in living conditions. Within a few generations, mortality and fertility rates dropped to unprecedented levels. At roughly the same time of this demographic transition, an economic transition led to widespread education and sustained income growth after a nearly stagnant development during the entire previous history. These changes are but the most visible features of a development that has been ongoing since the Neolithic transition and that incorporates pronounced...

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Preface

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pp. xi-xii

This volume originated from a workshop held during the CESifo Summer Institute 2014 on the topic “Demographic Change and Long-Run Development.” Instead of a collected volume of papers presented at this workshop, we discussed the possibility of a contributed volume with chapters that would cover a broader scope than a research article, each providing an introduction into the literature relevant to key aspect of the topic. This idea was based on the insight that the topic was sufficiently relevant to be dealt with in a handbook style, without being...

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1 The Demographic Transition and Long-Term Development

Matteo Cervellati and Uwe Sunde

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pp. 1-28

The demographic transition is commonly referred to as one of the “best-documented generalizations in the social sciences” (Kirk 1996). It describes the transition of a population from a regime characterized by high fertility and mortality to a regime with low fertility and mortality. The patterns of this transition exhibit striking similarities across countries and times. While demographers have focused mainly on documenting the patterns of the transition and describing similarities and differences across countries and times, economists have begun to...

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2 The Long Shadow of History: The Biogeographical Origins of Comparative Economic Development

Oded Galor

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pp. 29-42

The transition from an epoch of stagnation to an era of sustained economic growth has marked the onset of one of the most remarkable transformations in the course of human history. While living standards in the world economy stagnated during the millennia preceding the Industrial Revolution, income per capita has undergone an unprecedented twelve-fold increase over the past two centuries, altering the distribution of education, health, and wealth across the globe....

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3 Health Improvement and Income Growth in the Long Run

David N. Weil

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pp. 43-68

The rise in the material standard of living that has taken place over the last 250 years is rightly celebrated as an enormous accomplishment of our species. But parallel to this increase in the amount of goods and services that people consume has been an improvement in human health, both the number of years lived and health status during those years. In terms of welfare, it is not immediately clear whether income or lifespan growth is the greater accomplishment....

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4 Did Longer Lives Buy Economic Growth? From Malthus to Lucas and Ben-Porath

David de la Croix

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pp. 69-90

To what extent long lives matter for growth is a topic that has been investigated both theoretically and empirically in history and in contemporary data. Accordingly, I first provide empirical evidence indicating that improvements in life expectancy occurred before the take-off to modern growth. Establishing the precedence of longevity over growth is one argument in favor of causality. After a short section on measurement, I discuss two mechanisms, the contact time effect and the incentive effect, through which longevity may impact growth, both in the...

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5 Adult Mortality and Modern Growth

Davide Fiaschi and Tamara Fioroni

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pp. 91-132

The objective of this paper is to discuss the relationship between (adult) mortality and the long-run development of countries from empirical and theoretical perspectives.

Empirical evidence suggests a general upward trend in life expectancy at birth and in adult survival rate (an inverse proxy of mortality) of countries and a positive correlation between these two variables and income but with some notable exceptions: (i the null (negative) correlation for most western countries in recent years; (ii a negative...

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6 Human Physiological Development and Economic Growth

Carl-Johan Dalgaard and Holger Strulik

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pp. 133-158

During the past fifteen years, a new strand of growth research has emerged, arguing that for a better understanding of comparative development a much longer historical perspective is needed than what is elucidated by traditional neoclassical growth theory and its offshoots.1 A key insight from this body of research is that demographic change is essential to understanding the preindustrial growth record as well as the (relative) timing of the take-off to sustained growth. Malthusian...

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7 Intrahousehold Decision Making and Fertility

Matthias Doepke and Fabian Kindermann

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pp. 159-182

Having a baby is perhaps the best example of a joint decision of two people—without both a mother and a father contributing, it is not possible to have one. This observation suggests that agreement between the parents is an important precondition for having a baby and that disagreement is a potential reason for a lack of babies. Empirical evidence suggests that disagreement regarding fertility choices is commonplace. Westoff (2010) reports that in 17 out of 18 surveyed African countries,...

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8 Land Inequality, Education, and Marriage: Empirical Evidence from Nineteenth-Century Prussia

Francesco Cinnirella and Erik Hornung

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pp. 183-220

A vast literature documents the effects of economic and political inequality on development and growth. A significant part of this literature focuses on the political economy channel and argues the importance of the initial distribution of wealth for the distribution of political power. According to this literature, the initial existence (or formation) of an economic elite will lead to the concentration of political power in the hands of few, which will in turn lead to the introduction of political institutions designed to sustain inequality (see Acemoglu, Johnson,...

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9 Long-Run Development and the New Cultural Economics

Boris Gershman

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pp. 221-262

The interaction between culture and economic behavior is certainly not a new subject on the research agenda of economics. Classical economists wrote extensively on culture and so did Max Weber, whose famous 1905 work The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is fairly considered to be a cornerstone of early research on the economics of culture. Despite this long history, the study of culture has traditionally been the “turf” of other social sciences, such as anthropology and sociology....

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10 Time Since What? (Re)interpreting the Neolithic Transition in a Malthusian Environment

Nils-Petter Lagerlöf

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pp. 263-292

When comparing levels of development across societies in preindustrial times, one commonly used variable is the time passed since the Neolithic transition (or revolution) (i.e., the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture), which was originally compiled and analyzed by Putterman and Trainor (2006) and Putterman (2008).1

It is well known that the regions of the world that went through the Neolithic transition first—such as the Middle East around 8000 BCE...

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11 Caste Systems and Technology in Premodern Societies

Elena Esposito

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pp. 293-342

Caste systems have long been considered an extremely inefficient type of economic and social institution, as they constrain social mobility, fractionalize societies, and foster discrimination. The long-term negative effects of castes on modern economic growth can be hardly questioned. Nonetheless, the depth and persistence of this ancient1 form of social fractionalization suggests the possibility that castes, under different historical constraints, may have represented an asset instead of a...

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12 Conclusion and Outlook

Matteo Cervellati and Uwe Sunde

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pp. 343-346

This book originated from the argument that the demographic transition is a key turning point for long-run development, not only in terms of a change in the regime of population dynamics toward low fertility and mortality, but also in the process of long-run economic development. The observed similarities in the transition process across space and time suggest that a better understanding of the reasons for such occurrences as the delay in the development of some countries might provide insights that are relevant beyond academic interest....

Contributors

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pp. 347-348

Index

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pp. 349-354