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Endogenous Growth, Population Growth and the Repugnant Conclusion

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  • Simone Marsiglio

    (University of Milan)

Abstract

This paper studies the impact of endogenous population change on economic growth, analyzing the simplest optimal endogenous growth model, an AK type model, driven by human capital accumulation. We show that in steady state both demographic change and economic growth are constant, but the rate of these growth can be positive, negative or null accordingly to parameter values. Population dynamics is determined by the difference between the stationary fertility rate and the exogenous mortality rate: if this is positive population size indefinitely increases, otherwise it reaches a stationary level, which can be positive (if the difference is null) or null (if it is negative). If fertility is strictly lower than mortality, population size will constantly decrease in finite time and we end up with a complete collapse of the economy, characterized by the total extinction of the population. We also analyze the problem of optimal population size and its relationship with growth. The seminal work of Parfit (1984) suggests that total utilitarianism leads to increase population size indefinitely, even if it the average welfare tends to zero. We show that in our model economy, under certain parametric conditions, the repugnant conclusion holds; in particular, this happens when consumption growth is negative and the stationary fertility rate is higher than the exogenous mortality rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Simone Marsiglio, 2010. "Endogenous Growth, Population Growth and the Repugnant Conclusion," UNIMI - Research Papers in Economics, Business, and Statistics unimi-1103, Universitá degli Studi di Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:bep:unimip:unimi-1103
    Note: oai:cdlib1:unimi-1103
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1993. "Transitional Dynamics in Two-Sector Models of Endogenous Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 739-773.
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    3. Ehrlich, Isaac & Lui, Francis, 1997. "The problem of population and growth: A review of the literature from Malthus to contemporary models of endogenous population and endogenous growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 205-242, January.
    4. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert Tamura, 1994. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 323-350 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marsiglio, Simone & La Torre, Davide, 2012. "Population dynamics and utilitarian criteria in the Lucas–Uzawa Model," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 1197-1204.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic Growth; Human Capital Accumulation; Endogenous Fertility; Optimal Population; Repugnant Conclusion;

    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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