Disentangling the demographic determinants of the English take-off : 1530-1860
David, DE LA CROIX
We propose a model with some of the main demographic, economic and institutional factors usually considered to matter in the transition to modern growth. We apply our theory to England over the period 1530-1860. We use the model to measure the impact of mortality, population density and technological progress on school foundations, literacy and growth through a set of experiments. We find that one third of the rise in literacy over the period 1530-1850 can be directly related to the rise in population density, while one sixth is linked to higher longevity and one half to exogenous total factor productivity growth. Moreover, the timing of the effect of population density in the model is consistent with the available evidence for England, where it is shown that schools were established at a high rate over the period 1540-1620.
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