Population and Economic Growth in Australia: 8,000 BC - AD 1700 Extended to 60,000 BC



Abstract.Data for the number of rock-shelter sites in Australia between 1000 and 10,000 years BP (before present or approximately between 8,000 BC and AD 1000) are analysed. These data were interpreted by Johnson and Brook (2011) as representing the growth of population. Their claim of the Mid-Holocene intensification of the growth of population around 5000 years BP is contradicted by their own data. The puzzle of the Mid-Holocene turning point has been solved: there was no turning point. Their claim of the Mid-Holocene turning point relies on a precise position of a single point in the set of the already inaccurate data. Based on the fitted distribution to the data, the size of human population has been estimated between 8,000 BC and AD 1700 and tentatively extended down to 60,000 BC. The absolute values of the size of population were determined in relation to Maddison’s data between AD 1 and 1700 (Maddison, 2010). Data of Maddison show also that the value of income per capita was constant below AD 1700. Using this information and the fit to the population data, economic growth in Australia was estimated down to 8,000 BC and tentatively extended to 60,000 BC.

Keywords. Australia, Population growth, Economic growth, Gross Domestic Product, Hyperbolic growth, Unified Growth Theory, Malthusian stagnation.

JEL. A10, A12, C12, C20, Y80.


Australia; Population growth; Economic growth; Gross Domestic Product; Hyperbolic growth; Unified Growth Theory; Malthusian stagnation.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1453/jest.v4i1.1156


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