Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Population growth and industrialization

Zhou, Haiwen (2019): Population growth and industrialization. Published in: Economic Inquiry , Vol. 47, No. 2 (April 2009): pp. 249-265.

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This paper formalizes Rostow’s insight of the role of a leading sector in industrialization in a general equilibrium model. Population growth may lead to a shortage of food and a breakdown of the industrialization process. However, population growth may benefit the manufacturing sector in the adoption of increasing returns to scale technologies. Elasticity of demand for agricultural goods plays an important role in determining whether an improvement of agricultural technology or an increase of population is beneficial to the manufacturing sector. A comparison of China and Britain before the Industrial Revolution shows that R&D is necessary for sustained growth. Achieving industrialization independently requires a combination of a sufficient market size from the demand side and a sufficient supply of technologies from the supply side.

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