IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

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

  • Derek D. Headey
  • Andrew Hodge

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..

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: link to full text
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

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

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

in new window

Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:35:y:2009:i:2:p:221-248
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Jocelyn Finlay, 2008. "Population Aging and Economic Growth in Asia," PGDA Working Papers 4008, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  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. 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.
  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. 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.
  7. 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.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:35:y:2009:i:2:p:221-248. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.