A new paper published online in the Journal of Population Economics suggests on the basis of a historical model analysis that England’s escape from the Malthusian trap was triggered by the demographic catastrophes in the aftermath of the Black Death.
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Fertility versus productivity: a model of growth with evolutionary equilibria
by James Foreman-Peck and Peng Zhou
Published ONLINE: Journal of Population Economics, scheduled for 2021. Open Access
Author Abstract: We develop a quantitative model that is consistent with three principal building blocks of Unified Growth Theory: the break-out from economic stagnation, the build-up to the Industrial Revolution, and the onset of the fertility transition. Our analysis suggests that England’s escape from the Malthusian trap was triggered by the demographic catastrophes in the aftermath of the Black Death; household investment in children ultimately raised wages despite an increasing population; and rising human capital, combined with the increasing elasticity of substitution between child quantity and quality, reduced target family size and contributed to the fertility transition.