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Environmental problems and economic development in an endogenous fertility model

  • Frank Joest

    ()

    (University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics)

  • Martin Quaas

    ()

    (UFZ-Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle, Department of Ecological Modelling)

  • Johannes Schiller

    ()

    (UFZ-Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle, Department of Economics)

Population growth is often viewed as a most oppressive global problem with respect to environmental deterioration, but the relationships between population development, economic dynamics and environmental pollution are complex due to various feedback mechanisms. We analyze society’s economic decisions on birth rates, investment into human and physical capital, and polluting emissions within an optimal control model of the coupled demographic-economic-environmental system. We show that a long-run steady state is optimal that is characterized by a stable pollution stock, and by population and economic growth rates depending on the possibilities of emission abatement and technical progress due to human capital accumulation. We derive a condition on the production technologies and opportunity costs of raising children, under which the optimal birth rate is constant even during the transition to a steady state. In particular in an economy where only human capital is needed to produce output, the optimal choice of the birth rate is not affected by the states of the economy or the environment. In such a setting, the optimal birth rate is constant and policy should concentrate on intertemporal adjustment of per-capita emissions.

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File URL: http://www.uni-heidelberg.de/md/awi/forschung/dp428.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0428.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2006
Date of revision: Aug 2006
Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0428
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  1. Galor, Oded & Weil, David, 1998. "Population, Technology and Growth: From the Malthusian Regime to the Demographic Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers 1981, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, . "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 85-11, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  3. Harford, Jon D, 1998. "The Ultimate Externality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 260-65, March.
  4. Nerlove, Marc & Raut, Lakshmi K., 1993. "Growth models with endogenous population: A general framework," Handbook of Population and Family Economics, in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 20, pages 1117-1174 Elsevier.
  5. Srinivasan, T.N. & Robinson, J.A., 1995. "Long-Term Consequences of Population Growth: Technological Change, Natural Resources, and the Environment," Papers 748, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  6. Harford, Jon D., 1997. "Stock Pollution, Child-Bearing Externalities, and the Social Discount Rate," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 94-105, May.
  7. Kogel, Tomas & Prskawetz, Alexia, 2001. " Agricultural Productivity Growth and Escape from the Malthusian Trap," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 337-57, December.
  8. Schweizer, Urs, 1996. "Endogenous fertility and the Henry George Theorem," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 209-228, August.
  9. Poul Schou, 2002. "Pollution Externalities in a Model of Endogenous Fertility and Growth," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 9(6), pages 709-725, November.
  10. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
  11. Xepapadeas, Anastasios, 2005. "Economic growth and the environment," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 23, pages 1219-1271 Elsevier.
  12. Partha Dasgupta, 2000. "Population and Resources: An Exploration of Reproductive and Environmental Externalities," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 26(4), pages 643-689.
  13. Keeler, Emmett & Spence, Michael & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1972. "The optimal control of pollution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 19-34, February.
  14. Edward L. Glaeser & Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1999. "Population and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 145-149, May.
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