Discussion paper

DP14816 Growth, War, and Pandemics: Europe in the Very Long-run

This paper contributes to the debate on the origins of modern economic growth in Europe from a very long-run perspective using econometric techniques that allow for a long-range dependence approach. Different regimes, defined by endogenously estimated structural shocks, coincided with episodes of pandemics and war. The most persistent shocks occurred at the time of the Black Death and the twentieth century’s world wars. Our findings confirm that the Black Death often resulted in higher income levels, but reject the view of a uniform long-term response to the Plague while evidence a negative reaction in non-Malthusian economies. Positive trend growth in output per head and population took place in the North Sea Area (Britain and the Netherlands) since the Plague. A gap between the North Sea Area and the rest of Europe, the Little Divergence, emerged between the early seventeenth century and the Napoleonic Wars lending support to Broadberry-van Zanden’s interpretation.


Prados de la Escosura, L and C Rodriguez-Caballero (2020), ‘DP14816 Growth, War, and Pandemics: Europe in the Very Long-run‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 14816. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp14816