Population Growth and the Take-Off Hypothesis

  • Harvey Leibenstein
Part of the International Economic Association Series book series (IEA)


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.


Population Growth Capita Income Income Growth Fertility Decline Sustained Growth 
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Copyright information

© International Economics Association 1963

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harvey Leibenstein
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaUSA

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