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Preprints, Working Papers, ... (Working Paper) Year : 2023

Speed of Convergence in a Malthusian World: Weak or Strong Homeostasis?

Arnaud Deseau
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Abstract

The Malthusian trap is a well recognized source of stagnation in per capita income prior to industrialization. However, previous studies have found mixed evidence about its exact strength. This article contributes to this ongoing debate, by estimating the speed of convergence for a wide range of economies and a large part of the Malthusian era. I build a simple Malthusian growth model and derive the speed of convergence to the steady state. A calibration exercise for the English Malthusian economy reveals a relatively weak Malthusian trap, or weak homeostasis, with a half-life of 112 years. I then use β-convergence regressions and historical panel data on per capita income and population to empirically estimate the speed of convergence for a large set of countries. I find consistent evidence of weak homeostasis, with the mode of half-lives around 120 years. The weak homeostasis pattern is stable from the 11th to the 18th century. However, I highlight significant differences in the strength of the Malthusian trap, with some economies converging significantly faster or slower than others.
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Dates and versions

hal-04311248 , version 1 (28-11-2023)

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  • HAL Id : hal-04311248 , version 1

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Arnaud Deseau. Speed of Convergence in a Malthusian World: Weak or Strong Homeostasis?. 2023. ⟨hal-04311248⟩
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