Population Growth and the Take-Off Hypothesis
Like Pirandello’s ‘Six Characters in Search of an Author’ Professor Rostow has given us an interesting historical hypothesis in search of a theory.1 While this quip exaggerates the case, since the Economic Journal (1956) articles do have many statements about economic behaviour, nevertheless, I believe it is correct if we interpret ‘theory’ in a narrow sense. The central hypothesis, and this is all that I shall be concerned with in this paper, is that at some point in a country’s development events may occur that will considerably speed up its rate of growth, and that when this persists for two or three decades2 the country then enters a stage of self-sustained growth. This hypothesis is worth considering on many grounds, not the least of which is that Rostow has succeeded in clothing it in a language that gives his hypothesis great suggestive and evocative power.
KeywordsPopulation Growth Capita Income Income Growth Fertility Decline Sustained Growth
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