The Physiological Foundations of the Wealth of Nations

Publikation: Working paperForskning

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The Physiological Foundations of the Wealth of Nations. / Dalgaard, Carl-Johan Lars; Strulik, Holger.

Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen, 2010.

Publikation: Working paperForskning

Harvard

Dalgaard, C-JL & Strulik, H 2010 'The Physiological Foundations of the Wealth of Nations' Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen.

APA

Dalgaard, C-J. L., & Strulik, H. (2010). The Physiological Foundations of the Wealth of Nations. Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen.

Vancouver

Dalgaard C-JL, Strulik H. The Physiological Foundations of the Wealth of Nations. Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen. 2010.

Author

Dalgaard, Carl-Johan Lars ; Strulik, Holger. / The Physiological Foundations of the Wealth of Nations. Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen, 2010.

Bibtex

@techreport{6ef8b8e0124d11df803f000ea68e967b,
title = "The Physiological Foundations of the Wealth of Nations",
abstract = "Evidence from economics, anthropology and biology testifies to a fundamental trade-off between the number of offspring (quantity) and amount of nutrition per child (quality). This leads to a theory of pre-industrial growth where body size as well as population size is endogenous. But when productive quality investments are undertaken the historical constancy of income per capita seems puzzling. Why didn't episodes of rising income instigate a virtuous circle of rising body size and productivity? To address this question we propose that societies are subject to a {"}physiological check{"}: if human body size rises, metabolic needs - our conceptualization of  {"}subsistence requirements{"} - rise. This mechanism turns out to be instrumental in explaining why income growth does not take hold and societies remain near an endogenously determined subsistence boundary. When we use the theory to shed light on pre-industrial cross-country income differences we find that 60-70{\%} of the income differences in 1500 can plausibly be accounted for by variations in subsistence requirements.",
keywords = "Faculty of Social Sciences, Malthusian stagnation, subsistence, nutrition, body size, population growth",
author = "Dalgaard, {Carl-Johan Lars} and Holger Strulik",
note = "JEL classification: O11, I12, J13",
year = "2010",
language = "English",
publisher = "Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen",
address = "Denmark",
type = "WorkingPaper",
institution = "Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen",

}

RIS

TY - UNPB

T1 - The Physiological Foundations of the Wealth of Nations

AU - Dalgaard, Carl-Johan Lars

AU - Strulik, Holger

N1 - JEL classification: O11, I12, J13

PY - 2010

Y1 - 2010

N2 - Evidence from economics, anthropology and biology testifies to a fundamental trade-off between the number of offspring (quantity) and amount of nutrition per child (quality). This leads to a theory of pre-industrial growth where body size as well as population size is endogenous. But when productive quality investments are undertaken the historical constancy of income per capita seems puzzling. Why didn't episodes of rising income instigate a virtuous circle of rising body size and productivity? To address this question we propose that societies are subject to a "physiological check": if human body size rises, metabolic needs - our conceptualization of  "subsistence requirements" - rise. This mechanism turns out to be instrumental in explaining why income growth does not take hold and societies remain near an endogenously determined subsistence boundary. When we use the theory to shed light on pre-industrial cross-country income differences we find that 60-70% of the income differences in 1500 can plausibly be accounted for by variations in subsistence requirements.

AB - Evidence from economics, anthropology and biology testifies to a fundamental trade-off between the number of offspring (quantity) and amount of nutrition per child (quality). This leads to a theory of pre-industrial growth where body size as well as population size is endogenous. But when productive quality investments are undertaken the historical constancy of income per capita seems puzzling. Why didn't episodes of rising income instigate a virtuous circle of rising body size and productivity? To address this question we propose that societies are subject to a "physiological check": if human body size rises, metabolic needs - our conceptualization of  "subsistence requirements" - rise. This mechanism turns out to be instrumental in explaining why income growth does not take hold and societies remain near an endogenously determined subsistence boundary. When we use the theory to shed light on pre-industrial cross-country income differences we find that 60-70% of the income differences in 1500 can plausibly be accounted for by variations in subsistence requirements.

KW - Faculty of Social Sciences

KW - Malthusian stagnation

KW - subsistence

KW - nutrition

KW - body size

KW - population growth

M3 - Working paper

BT - The Physiological Foundations of the Wealth of Nations

PB - Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen

ER -

ID: 17423573