Saturday, 20 December 2008
Rags to Riches
On December 11 and 12, Matthias Doepke (Northwestern), Nico Voigtländer (UCLA-Anderson) and I ran a small conference called Rags to Riches: Fertility, Culture and Education in the Transition to Self-Sustaining Growth. We had a variety of papers. My favourites ranged from presentations on the strength of the Malthusian check (Morgan Kelly and Cormac O'Grada) in early modern England, and a theory of how health improvements, educational investment and economic growth rose in tandem over the last 200 years (Sunde and Cervellati), to the rise of extramarital sex in the last 100 years (Greenwood, Guner and Fernandez-Villaverde). Joel Mokyr (Northwestern, pictured above) was over for a little while, and acted as a discussant for a paper on apprenticeships in premodern societies. Conferences bringing together scholars from a variety of backgrounds - growth theorists, historians, labor economists - are always a bit of an experiment, but I think it worked out pretty well overall.