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Reassessing Edgeworth’s conjecture when population dynamics is stochastic

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  • Marsiglio, Simone

Abstract

We analyze the implications of different welfare criteria on economic and population growth in the case of stochastic population change. Edgeworth (1925) argues that total utilitarianism leads to a lower economic performance and a larger population size than average utilitarianism. Following works show that while his intuition holds in a static framework, the result is unclear in a dynamic setting of endogenous growth. We show that if population dynamics is stochastic, Edgeworth’s conjecture may or may not hold. In particular, which utilitarian criterion implies larger economic and population growth rates depends on the value of the inverse of the intertemporal elasticity of substitution, the features of the random process driving demographic change and the magnitude of the (linear) dilution coefficient. We also characterize the size of the range of parameter values supporting Edgeworth’s conjecture; such a range is wide if the dilution parameter is large enough while it is particularly narrow (but still non-empty) if the parameter is small.

Suggested Citation

  • Marsiglio, Simone, 2014. "Reassessing Edgeworth’s conjecture when population dynamics is stochastic," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 130-140.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:42:y:2014:i:c:p:130-140
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jmacro.2014.07.008
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Simone Marsiglio & Marco Tolotti, 2018. "Endogenous growth and technological progress with innovation driven by social interactions," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 65(2), pages 293-328, March.
    4. repec:bla:scotjp:v:64:y:2017:i:3:p:263-282 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Bharat Diwakar & Gilad Sorek, 2016. "Human-Capital Spillover, Population, and Economic Growth," Auburn Economics Working Paper Series auwp2016-02, Department of Economics, Auburn University.
    6. Wongboonsin, Kua & Phiromswad, Piyachart, 2017. "Searching for empirical linkages between demographic structure and economic growth," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 364-379.
    7. repec:spr:annopr:v:267:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10479-016-2357-3 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Edgeworth’s conjecture; Stochastic population; Economic growth; Welfare criteria;

    JEL classification:

    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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