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The Population Debate in Historical Perspective: Revisionism Revisited

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  • Kelley, Allen C.
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    There appeared to be a dramatic shift of thinking from an alarmist and pessimistic assessment of the consequences of population growth prevalent before 1985, to a more balanced and eclectic assessment thereafter. It is argued that this shift, sometimes denoted as "revisionist thinking," is due less to a shift amongst economic demographers, and more to the elevation of economists' views vis-a-vis those of demographers, biologists, and others. The impact of the 1986 National Academy Report was profound, causing a careful consideration of the 1971 NAS report, discovered to be badly flawed in its presentation. Revisionism is re-defined to emphasize less the bottom-line results and more the methodology of evaluation, where a long-run perspective is espoused and (positive) feedbacks of initial adverse impacts of population growth are highlighted.

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    Paper provided by Duke University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 99-09.

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    Date of creation: 1999
    Publication status: Forthcoming in POPULATION DOES MATTER: DEMOGRAPHY, GROWTH AND POVERTY IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD, Nancy Birdsall, Allen C. Kelley and Steven Sinding, editors, Oxford University Press, 2001.
    Handle: RePEc:duk:dukeec:99-09
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    Department of Economics Duke University 213 Social Sciences Building Box 90097 Durham, NC 27708-0097

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