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Demographic Change and Long-Run Development$
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Matteo Cervellati and Uwe Sunde

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036627

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036627.001.0001

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Human Physiological Development and Economic Growth

Human Physiological Development and Economic Growth

(p.133) 6 Human Physiological Development and Economic Growth
Demographic Change and Long-Run Development

Carl-Johan Dalgaard

Holger Strulik

The MIT Press

This chapter elaborates on the microeconomics of the income–health nexus and incorporates fertility decisions. It examines the trade-off between the number of offspring and the health investments in those offspring, as reflected by body size, thereby providing a new interpretation of the quantity–quality trade-off in a health context. A key insight from this study is that demographic change is essential to understanding the preindustrial growth record as well as the (relative) timing of the take-off to sustained growth. The major motivation for this effort is existing evidence, which largely is found in the fields of biology and physical anthropology, that humans (and other mammals) face a fundamental trade-off between size of offspring and number of offspring.

Keywords:   income–health nexus, fertility, offspring, health investments, body size, demographic change, preindustrial growth, biology, physical anthropology

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