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Population and Economic Growth: Ancient and Moderns


  • Elise S. Brezis

    () (Bar-Ilan University)

  • Warren Young

    () (Bar-Ilan University)


This paper focuses on the evolution of the relationship between population and economic growth from Hume to New Growth Theory. In the paper, we show that there were two main views on the subject. There were those who assumed that the relationship between fertility rates and income was positive. On the other hand, there were those who raised the possibility that this linkage did not occur, and they emphasized that an increase in income did not necessarily lead to having more children. The paper will show that their position on the issue was related to a socio-economic fact: the sibship size effect. We show that those who took the view that an increase in income leads to the desire to have more children, did not take into consideration a sibship size effect, while those maintaining that there existed a negative relationship, introduced into their utility function a sibship size effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Elise S. Brezis & Warren Young, 2013. "Population and Economic Growth: Ancient and Moderns," Working Papers 2013-10, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:biu:wpaper:2013-10

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Marshall, M G, 1998. "Scottish Economic Thought and the High Wage Economy: Hume, Smith and McCulloch on Wages and Work Motivation," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 45(3), pages 309-328, August.
    2. Günter Krause, 2002. "Eugen Dühring in the perspective of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 29(4/5), pages 345-363, September.
    3. Elise Brezis & Warren Young, 2003. "The new views on demographic transition: a reassessment of Malthus's and Marx's approach to population," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(1), pages 25-45.
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    More about this item


    Population; Economic Growth; Sibship size effect; children; fertility rates.;

    JEL classification:

    • B10 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - General
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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