Malthus in the Raj
This paper studies the Malthusian constraint on local living standards in a large agricultural economy, colonial South Asia. I build subsistence ratios at the district level. A one percent increase in population density implies a one percent decrease in real wages, including two-ways fixed effects and controls. In a colonial setting of limited state, under-investment in agriculture leads to stagnating wages under population pressure. At the same time, local economies are not at the same stage of convergence to the Malthusian steady-state, implying large regional heterogeneity in living standards.