IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Is economic growth compatible with reductions in carbon emissions? Investigating the impacts of diminished population growth

Listed author(s):
  • Gregory Casey
  • Oded Galor

We provide evidence that lower fertility can simultaneously increase income per capita and lower carbon emissions, eliminating a trade-off central to most policies aimed at slowing global climate change. We estimate the effect of lower fertility on carbon emissions accounting for the fact that changes in fertility patterns affect carbon emissions through three channels total population, the age structure of the population, and economic output. Our analysis proceeds in two steps. First, we estimate a version of the STIRPAT equation on an unbalanced yearly panel of cross-country data from 1950-2010. We demonstrate that the coefficient on population is nearly seven times larger than the coefficient on income per capita and that this difference is statistically significant. Thus, regression results imply that 1% slower population growth could be accompanied by an increase in income per capita of nearly 7% while still lowering carbon emissions. In the second part of our analysis, we use a recently constructed economic-demographic model of Nigeria to estimate the effect of lower fertility on carbon emissions accounting for the impacts of fertility on population growth, population age structure, and income per capita. The model was constructed to estimate the effect of lower fertility on economic growth, making it well-suited for this application. We find that by 2100 C.E., moving from the medium to the low variant of the UN fertility projection leads to 35% lower yearly emissions and 15% higher income per capita. These results strongly suggest that population policies could be a part of the approach to combating global climate change.

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: https://www.brown.edu/academics/economics/sites/brown.edu.academics.economics/files/uploads/2016-8_paper_2.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Brown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2016-8.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2016
Handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2016-8
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Department of Economics, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912

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. Quamrul H. Ashraf & David N. Weil & Joshua Wilde, 2013. "The Effect of Fertility Reduction on Economic Growth," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 39(1), pages 97-130, 03.
  2. Oded Galor, 2012. "The demographic transition: causes and consequences," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 6(1), pages 1-28, January.
  3. Wagner, Martin, 2008. "The carbon Kuznets curve: A cloudy picture emitted by bad econometrics?," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 388-408, August.
  4. Daniel Aaronson & Fabian Lange & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2014. "Fertility Transitions along the Extensive and Intensive Margins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(11), pages 3701-3724, November.
  5. Robert C. Feenstra & Robert Inklaar & Marcel P. Timmer, 2015. "The Next Generation of the Penn World Table," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(10), pages 3150-3182, October.
  6. Oded Galor, 2011. "Unified Growth Theory and Comparative Development," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, issue 2, pages 9-21, April-Jun.
  7. Dalton, Michael & O'Neill, Brian & Prskawetz, Alexia & Jiang, Leiwen & Pitkin, John, 2008. "Population aging and future carbon emissions in the United States," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 642-675, March.
  8. Jutta Brunnée & Charlotte Streck, 2013. "The UNFCCC as a negotiation forum: towards common but more differentiated responsibilities," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(5), pages 589-607, September.
  9. Oded Galor, 2011. "Unified Growth Theory," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9477, 09-2014.
  10. Liddle, Brantley, 2015. "What Are the Carbon Emissions Elasticities for Income and Population? Bridging STIRPAT and EKC via robust heterogeneous panel estimates," MPRA Paper 61304, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Gary S. Becker, 1960. "An Economic Analysis of Fertility," NBER Chapters,in: Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries, pages 209-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Mikhail Golosov & John Hassler & Per Krusell & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2014. "Optimal Taxes on Fossil Fuel in General Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(1), pages 41-88, 01.
  13. Hoyt Bleakley & Fabian Lange, 2009. "Chronic Disease Burden and the Interaction of Education, Fertility, and Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 52-65, February.
  14. Liddle, Brantley, 2014. "Impact of population, age structure, and urbanization on carbon emissions/energy consumption: Evidence from macro-level, cross-country analyses," MPRA Paper 61306, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. York, Richard & Rosa, Eugene A. & Dietz, Thomas, 2003. "STIRPAT, IPAT and ImPACT: analytic tools for unpacking the driving forces of environmental impacts," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 351-365, October.
  16. Quamrul H. Ashraf & David N. Weil & Joshua Wilde, 2011. "The Effect of Fertility Reduction on Economic Growth," Department of Economics Working Papers 2013-11, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Feb 2013.
  17. Liddle, Brantley & Lung, Sidney, 2010. "Age-Structure, Urbanization, and Climate Change in Developed Countries: Revisiting STIRPAT for Disaggregated Population and Consumption-Related Environmental Impacts," MPRA Paper 59579, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  18. William Nordhaus, 2015. "Climate Clubs: Overcoming Free-Riding in International Climate Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(4), pages 1339-1370, April.
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:bro:econwp:2016-8. 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: (Brown Economics Webmaster)

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.