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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..

Suggested Citation

  • Derek D. Headey & Andrew Hodge, 2009. "The Effect of Population Growth on Economic Growth: A Meta-Regression Analysis of the Macroeconomic Literature," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 35(2), pages 221-248.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:35:y:2009:i:2:p:221-248
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hajamini, Mehdi, 2015. "The non-linear effect of population growth and linear effect of age structure on per capita income: A threshold dynamic panel structural model," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 43-58.
    2. Øystein Kravdal, 2014. "The Estimation of Fertility Effects on Happiness: Even More Difficult than Usually Acknowledged," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 30(3), pages 263-290, August.
    3. Aurore Gary & Mathilde Maurel, 2015. "Donors’ Policy Consistency and Economic Growth," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(4), pages 511-551, November.
    4. repec:spr:soinre:v:133:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1389-z is not listed on IDEAS
    5. 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.
    6. repec:wly:econjl:v::y:2017:i:605:p:f236-f265 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:eee:jpolmo:v:39:y:2017:i:6:p:1065-1085 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Colin Davis & Ken-Ichi Hashimoto, 2015. "Industry Concentration, Knowledge Diffusion and Economic Growth Without Scale Effects," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 82(328), pages 769-789, October.
    9. Ibhagui, Oyakhilome, 2017. "How Does Foreign Direct Investment Affect Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa? New Evidence from Non-threshold and Threshold Analysis," MPRA Paper 85784, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Ahmad, Mahyudin & Hall, Stephen G., 2012. "Institutions-growth spatial dependence: An empirical test," MPRA Paper 42360, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Kravdal, Øystein, 2013. "Reflections on the Search for Fertility Effects on Happiness," Memorandum 10/2013, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    12. repec:vrs:seejeb:v:11:y:2016:i:2:p:33-47:n:3 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:4:p:930-:d:137671 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Jorge Garza-Rodriguez & Cecilia I. Andrade-Velasco & Karen D. Martinez-Silva & Francisco D. Renteria-Rodriguez & Pedro A. Vallejo-Castillo, 2016. "The relationship between population growth and economic growth in Mexico," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 36(1), pages 97-107.
    15. 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.
    16. Hendrik P. Van Dalen & Kène Henkens & Joop Schippers, 2010. "Productivity of Older Workers: Perceptions of Employers and Employees," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 36(2), pages 309-330.
    17. Cavusoglu, Nevin, 2012. "LISREL growth model on direct and indirect effects using cross-country data," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 2362-2370.

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