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The Cambridge-INET Institute - continuing as the Janeway Institute

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Guinnane, T. W.

We do not know the Population of Every Country in the World for the Past Two Thousand Years

JIWP Number: 2233

Abstract: Economists have reported results based on populations for every country in the world for the past two thousand years. The source, McEvedy and Jones’ Atlas of World Population History, includes many estimates that are little more than guesses and that do not reflect research since 1978. McEvedy and Jones often infer population sizes from their view of a particular economy, making their estimates poor proxies for economic growth. Their rounding means their measurement error is not “classical.” Some economists augment that error by disaggregating regions in unfounded ways. Econometric results that rest on McEvedy and Jones are unreliable.

PDF: jiwp2233.pdf

Open Access Link: 10.17863/CAM.93386

Theme: empirical