Frank Shuo CHEN：The Malthus’s Deadlock: Maize and Population Growth in China, 1500-1900.
题目：The Malthus’s Deadlock: Maize and Population Growth inChina, 1500-1900.
主讲人：Frank Shuo CHEN，PhD Candidate in Division of Social Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
摘要：Between 1500 and 1900, population inChinahistorically grew from about 130 million to 400 million, accounting for nearly one-third of the contemporaneous increased population in the world. A number of authors have suggested that population pressure should be responsible for the impediment of Industrial Revolution inChina. This paper proposes an explanation for the unprecedented population explosion during Ming and Qing dynasties: the adoption and expansion of American food plant fromNew World. Using a unique data set from various historical achieves and estimates of the effect of maize on the population density using instrumental variable approach, I argue that maize planting inChinacan account for nearly half of the increased population: one decade maize planting increases population density by five percentage. The robustness of the results supports the inclusion of various controls and specification checks. There is also no evidence to suggest a direct role for instrumental variable on population density. On the other hand, however, I find no role for maize planting in shaping people’s birth behavior, which suggests that contribution ofNew Worldplants lies mainly in their contribution to increased nutritional intake, thereby reducing the mortality rate and improving life expectancy.