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Consumption patterns, development and growth: Adam Smith, David Ricardo and Thomas Robert Malthus

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In this paper we combine the classical analysis of luxury consumption with the classical theories of development and growth. We also focus on the role played, within classical economics, by institutional factors such as the structure of property rights and contractual arrangements in determining consumption patterns and investment in agriculture. In particular, we show that Ricardo's and Malthus' different views on the role of consumption expenditure in promoting growth depend on Ricardo's acceptance (Malthus' refusal) of Say's law of markets and on Ricardo's exclusion (Malthus' inclusion) of a non-commodity option such as leisure from (in) the range of available consumption alternatives.
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Keywords: Structural change; classical authors; consumption pattern; long-run growth; luxury consumption; property rights

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Pisa 2: University of Naples Federico II

Publication date: March 1, 2003

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