Malthus in Cointegration Space: Evidence of a Post-Malthusian Pre-industrial England

Niels Framroze Møller, Paul Richard Sharp

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This paper re-examines the interaction between population growth and income per capita in pre-industrial England. Our results suggest that, as early as two centuries preceding the Industrial Revolution, England had already escaped the Malthusian Epoch and entered a post-Malthusian regime, where income per capita continued to spur population growth but was no longer stagnant. Our formulation of a post-Malthusian hypothesis implies cointegration between vital rates (birth- and death rates) and income and builds explicitly on a simple model of Malthusian stagnation. We show that this hypothesis can be interpreted as an extension of the latter model where the negative Malthusian feedback effect from population on income, as implied by diminishing returns to labor, is offset by a positive Boserupian and/or Smithian scale effect of population on technology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Economic Growth
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)105-140
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • Cointegration
  • Malthus
  • Post-Malthusian regime
  • Pre-industrial England
  • Structural model
  • Unified growth theory

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