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IFRO Working Paper No. 2022/01
University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics (IFRO), Copenhagen
This paper studies the relationship between population size and the rate of time preference (RTP) in pre-capitalist subsistence agricultural communities. The RTP is reflected in the community's propensity to invest in and maintain new arable land that may be considered as an inherent characteristic of the considered community. Using a Malthusian framework, we show how communities with a low RTP end up with a high steady-state subsistence population compared to communities with a high RTP. Furthermore, unsustainable 'optimum population' sizes are identified where consumption per capita has a maximal value. Finally, the paper shows that the population growth rate may have no bearing on the resulting subsistence steady-state population size. A population with a higher growth rate only reaches the subsistence steadystate population size faster and have a lower maximal consumption per capita along the path to the subsistence level.
Population growth
Malthusian model
Rate of time preference
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Working Paper

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