The Physiological Foundation of the Wealth of Nations

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Carl-Johan Lars Dalgaard, Holger Strulik

In the present paper we advance a theory of pre-industrial growth where body size and population size are endogenously determined. Despite the fact that parents invest in both child quantity and productivity enhancing child quality, a take-off does not occur due to a key “physiological check”: if human body size rises, subsistence requirements will increase. This mechanism turns out to be instrumental in explaining why income stagnates near an endogenously determined subsistence boundary. Key predictions of the model are examined using data for ethnic groups as well as for sub-national regions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Economic Growth
Volume20
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)37-73
Number of pages37
ISSN1381-4338
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2015

ID: 130530226