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The Effect of Population Growth on Economic Growth: A Meta-Regression Analysis of the Macroeconomic Literature

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  • Derek D. Headey
  • Andrew Hodge

Abstract

Many studies have sought to gauge the impact of population growth on economic growth. A well-known stylized fact of this literature is that the estimated effects of population growth measures on economic growth are not robust, varying between being positive, negative, and insignificantly different from zero. The present study analyzes 471 statistical regressions from 29 prominent economic growth studies using meta-regression analysis to identify the effect of alternative methodologies on key population growth results. This study finds that a broad set of methodological factors explains more than half of the variation in the population growth effects observed from this literature, including the types of variables used to measure population growth, the countries selected, the time frame of the analysis, and the nature of the control variables specified. The study also yields results that have implications for policymakers, especially insofar as several policy factors seem to influence the population change-economic growth nexus. Particularly strong is the evidence in support of the increasingly adverse effects of population growth in the post-1980 period, suggesting that demographic issues should warrant greater attention than they currently receive from the policymaking community. Copyright (c) 2009 The Population Council, Inc..

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by The Population Council, Inc. in its journal Population and Development Review.

Volume (Year): 35 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 221-248

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Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:35:y:2009:i:2:p:221-248

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  1. Kormendi, Roger C. & Meguire, Philip G., 1985. "Macroeconomic determinants of growth: Cross-country evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 141-163, September.
  2. Bloom, David E & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 1998. "Demographic Transitions and Economic Miracles in Emerging Asia," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(3), pages 419-55, September.
  3. Otani, Ichiro & Villanueva, Delano, 1990. "Long-term growth in developing countries and its determinants: An empirical analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 769-783, June.
  4. Galor, Oded & Zang, Hyoungsoo, 1997. "Fertility, income distribution, and economic growth: Theory and cross-country evidence," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 197-229, May.
  5. Landau, Daniel, 1986. "Government and Economic Growth in the Less Developed Countries: An Empirical Study for 1960-1980," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 35-75, October.
  6. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Jocelyn E. Finlay, 2010. "Population Aging and Economic Growth in Asia," NBER Chapters, in: The Economic Consequences of Demographic Change in East Asia, NBER-EASE Volume 19, pages 61-89 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Grier, Kevin B. & Tullock, Gordon, 1989. "An empirical analysis of cross-national economic growth, 1951-1980," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 259-276, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Cavusoglu, Nevin, 2012. "LISREL growth model on direct and indirect effects using cross-country data," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 2362-2370.
  2. Ahmad, Mahyudin & Hall, Stephen G., 2012. "Institutions and growth: Testing the spatial effect using weight matrix based on the institutional distance concept," MPRA Paper 42294, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Kravdal, Øystein, 2013. "Reflections on the Search for Fertility Effects on Happiness," Memorandum 10/2013, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  4. Colin Davis & Ken-ichi Hashimoto, 2014. "Industry Concentration, Knowledge Diffusion, and Economic Growth Without Scale Effects," Discussion Papers 1408, Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University.
  5. Øystein Kravdal & Ivy Kodzi, 2011. "Children's stunting in sub-Saharan Africa: Is there an externality effect of high fertility?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 25(18), pages 565-594, September.
  6. Ahmad, Mahyudin & Hall, Stephen G., 2012. "Institutions-growth spatial dependence: An empirical test," MPRA Paper 42360, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Henkens, C.J.I.M. & Dalen, H.P. van, 2011. "The employer’s perspective on retirement," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-4807650, Tilburg University.

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