Reading: Michael Kremer (1993): "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990
Michael Kremer (1993): "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990", Quarterly Journal of Economics 108:3 (August), pp. 681-716 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2118405
Kremer's Model: 2HABt1:
- Malthusian population dynamics
- A possible (eventual) demographic transition once income per capita gets high enough
- Innovation—change in log technology—proportional to population
Generates Very Strong Conclusions:
- Eventual modern economic growth inevitable, and inescapable
- Major determinants of when MEG takes hold:
- Invention parameter--i.e., idea generation and then diffusion
- The level of income per capita at which the demographic transition is generated
- The conclusions are strong—but only as strong as the model
How strong is the model?
Is Kremer’s theory that two-heads-are-better-than-one an adequate account of the drivers of productivity growth?
Is 2HABt1 plus demographic transition an adequate account of the dynamics of per-capita real incomes?
If we do decide that Kremer is inadequate, how should we improve it?
What modifications to the model would overthrow Kremer's (very strong) conclusions?