nep-gro New Economics Papers
on Economic Growth
Issue of 2020‒09‒07
six papers chosen by
Marc Klemp
University of Copenhagen

  1. History as Evolution By Nathan Nunn
  2. The Race between Population and Technology : Real Wages in the First Industrial Revolution By Crafts, Nicholas; Mills, Terence C.
  3. Early Fertility Decline in the United States: Tests of Alternative Hypotheses using New Complete-Count Census Microdata and Enhanced County-Level Data By Michael R. Haines; J. David Hacker; Matthew S. Jaremski
  4. Human Capital and Income Inequality in a Monetary Schumpeterian Growth Model By Zheng, Zhijie; Huang, Chien-Yu; Wan, Xi
  5. The enduring influence of institutions on universal health coverage: an empirical investigation of 62 former colonies By Miller, Michael; Toffolutti, Veronica; Reeves, Aaron
  6. Growth with Adjectives: Global Poverty and Inequality after the Pandemic By Christopher Hoy; Andy Sumner

  1. By: Nathan Nunn
    Abstract: In this chapter, I consider the benefits of viewing history through an evolutionary lens. In recent decades, a field of research has emerged, which builds on foundations from biological evolution to study culture within an evolutionary framework. I begin the chapter by discussing the theory behind cultural evolution and the empirical evidence supporting its ability to explain the history of human societies. I then turn to a discussion of how an evolutionary perspective provides important insights into a range of phenomena within economics, including a deeper understanding of human capital, innovation, gender roles, the consequences of warfare, the effects of market competition, why we observe historical persistence and path dependence, and, most importantly, why sustained economic growth is often so elusive. I end by turning to a summary of a growing body of research within economics that has made progress in improving our understanding of cultural evolution and, thus, contributing to evolutionary disciplines outside of economics.
    JEL: C73 N01 N10 Z1
    Date: 2020–08
  2. By: Crafts, Nicholas (University of Sussex); Mills, Terence C. (Loughborough University)
    Abstract: We investigate a structural model of demographic-economic interactions for England during 1570 to 1850. We estimate that the annual rate of population growth consistent with constant real wages was 0.4 per cent before 1760 but 1.5 per cent thereafter. We find that exogenous shocks increased population growth dramatically in the early decades of the Industrial Revolution. Simulations of our model show that if these demographic shocks had occurred before the Industrial Revolution the impact on real wages would have been catastrophic and that these shocks were largely responsible for very slow growth of real wages during the Industrial Revolution.
    Keywords: epidemic disease ; Industrial Revolution ; Malthusian checks ; nuptiality ; population growth ; real wages ; technological progress JEL codes: N13 ; N33
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Michael R. Haines; J. David Hacker; Matthew S. Jaremski
    Abstract: The U.S. fertility transition in the nineteenth century is unusual. Not only did it start from a very high fertility level and very early in the nation’s development, but it also took place long before the nation’s mortality transition, industrialization, and urbanization. This paper assembles new county-level, household-level, and individual-level data, including new complete-count IPUMS microdata databases of the 1830-1880 censuses, to evaluate different theories for the nineteenth-century American fertility transition. We construct cross-sectional models of net fertility for currently-married white couples in census years 1830-1880 and test the results with subset of couples linked between the 1850-1860 and 1860-1870 censuses. We find evidence of marital fertility control consistent with hypotheses as early as 1830. The results indicate support for several different but complementary theories of the early U.S. fertility decline, including the land availability, conventional structuralist, ideational, child demand/quality-quantity trade-off, and life-cycle savings theories.
    JEL: J13 N21 N31
    Date: 2020–08
  4. By: Zheng, Zhijie; Huang, Chien-Yu; Wan, Xi
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effects of monetary policy on income inequality in a Schumpeterian growth model with endogenous human capital accumulation and household heterogeneity. The source of heterogeneity arises from both unequal distributions of (tangible) wealth and (intangible) human capital. We find that inflation unambiguously lowers economic growth rate, whereas its impact on the income inequality is quite diverse, depending on the relative dispersions of human capital and wealth, and the response of the relative interestwage income share to inflation. Inflation may increase income inequality when the dispersion of human capital dominates (is dominated by) that of wealth, and the relative interest-wage income share is decreasing (increasing) in inflation rate. One interesting scenario in our analysis is that the model can generate a non-monotonic U-shaped relationship between income inequality and inflation. Moreover, our quantitative example shows that this U-shaped relationship is likely to occur in a reasonable range of parameter configuration and the threshold level of inflation is consistent with the current empirical findings using the U.S. data.
    Keywords: Income Inequality; Inflation; Endogenous economic growth; Human capital.
    JEL: D31 E41 O30 O40
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Miller, Michael; Toffolutti, Veronica; Reeves, Aaron
    Abstract: In this paper, we argue that particular institutional arrangements partly explain the large and persistent differences in health systems and health outcomes observed in former colonies. Drawing on data from the World Health Organization for 62 countries, covering the period 2000–2014, we explore whether economic (risk of expropriation) and health (complete cause of death registries) institutions explain mortality rates and access to healthcare. To identify this relationship, we use settler mortality and the distance of the capital from the nearest major port – factors associated with institutional arrangements – to explain cross-national variation in health outcomes and the universality of health systems. We find that inclusive institutions arrangements – that protect and acknowledge the rights of citizens – are associated with better health outcomes (e.g. lower infant mortality and lower maternal mortality) as well as with better health systems (e.g. more skilled birth attendance and greater immunization). Inclusive institutions not only foster economic growth but improve health and well-being too.
    Keywords: Institutions; Health coverage; Instrumental variables; 313590-HRES
    JEL: I10 P16 P51
    Date: 2018–11–01
  6. By: Christopher Hoy (Australian National University); Andy Sumner (King’s College London; Center for Global Development)
    Abstract: This paper is concerned with the following question: In a post-COVID-19 context, what type of economic growth will most likely end global poverty and reduce inequality? To answer this, we first survey the existing conceptual and empirical study of the poverty-inequality-growth relationship through the analysis of various forms of economic growth with adjectives, i.e. kinds of growth specified through attached adjectives including pro-poor growth, inclusive growth, and shared growth. We also revisit older discussions on redistribution with growth and growth with equity. We present a typology of growth episodes based on the associated changes in poverty and inequality. Second, we empirically re-examine all growth episodes in the developing world since 1980 and categorise them according to our typology. Third, we discuss the implications for when global poverty would be ended and what levels of inequality could exist in 2030 if each type of growth episode was replicated. The contribution of our paper is a typology of growth episodes based on poverty and inequality patterns; the application of said typology to the empirical relationship between poverty, inequality, and growth historically; and the provision of a new set of projections for the end of global poverty based on differing types of growth. We conclude that in the aftermath of the pandemic, countries will need to pursue historically unprecedented growth paths in order to achieve the poverty and inequality Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
    Keywords: Global Poverty, SDGs, Inequality, COVID-19
    JEL: I32
    Date: 2020–07–20

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