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Population Growth, (Per Capita) Economic Growth, and Poverty Reduction in Uganda: Theory and Evidence

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  • Stephan Klasen

    () (University of Goettingen)

Abstract

This paper examines the link between population and per capita economic growth in Uganda. After showing that Uganda has one of the highest population growth rates in the world which, due to the inherent demographic momentum, will persist for some time to come, it then considers the impact of population growth on per capita economic growth. It finds that both theoretical considerations as well as strong empirical evidence suggest that the currently high population growth puts a considerable break on per capita growth prospects in Uganda. Moreover, it contributes significantly to low achievements in education, health, and poverty reduction and will make improvements in these areas very difficult. It may also be an important factor in the increase of inequality. If Uganda began a period of sustained fertility decline, the estimates reviewed here would suggest that this could boost medium term per capita growth rates by between 0.5-0.6 percentage points per year; considering the favourable age structure dynamics such a fertility decline would generate, per capita growth could increase by between 1.5 and 3 percentage points. It could also significantly contribute to improvements in poverty, inequality, education, and health outcomes. The note emphasizes the importance of a concerted effort to promote female education (including progression, completion, and secondary education), female formal sector employment, investments in reproductive and child health as well as family planning services, and government political leadership to promote smaller families.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephan Klasen, 2005. "Population Growth, (Per Capita) Economic Growth, and Poverty Reduction in Uganda: Theory and Evidence," Departmental Discussion Papers 125, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:got:vwldps:125
    Note: This paper is written as part of a work program on gender and growth in Uganda, undertaken at the request of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and the PEAP Gender Group as a contribution to the PEAP revision process. I am grateful for inputs from David Lawson, as well as helpful comments from David Bevan, Michael Grimm, Andrew Keith, John MacKinnon, Fiona Davies, Jenny Yates, members of the World Bank country office, and Sudarshan Canagarajah. Funding from DFID in support of this work is gratefully acknowledged.
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    File URL: http://www2.vwl.wiso.uni-goettingen.de/departmentpaper/NO_125.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1998. "Geography and Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 6849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    3. David Lawson & Andy Mckay & John Okidi, 2006. "Poverty persistence and transitions in Uganda: A combined qualitative and quantitative analysis," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(7), pages 1225-1251.
    4. David de la Croix & Matthias Doepke, 2003. "Inequality and Growth: Why Differential Fertility Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1091-1113, September.
    5. N. S. Ssewanyana & A J. Okidi & D. Angemi & V. Barungi, 2004. "Understanding the determinants of income inequality in Uganda," CSAE Working Paper Series 2004-29, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    6. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    7. Kremer, Michael & Chen, Daniel L, 2002. "Income Distribution Dynamics with Endogenous Fertility," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 227-258, September.
    8. Diego Angemi & N.S. Ssewanyana, 2004. "Understanding the Determinants of Income Inequality in Uganda," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2004-29, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    9. Stephan Klasen & Claudia Wink, 2003. ""Missing Women": Revisiting The Debate," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2-3), pages 263-299.
    10. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1998. "Geography and Economic Development," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1856, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Stephan Klasen, 2006. "Pro-Poor Growth and Gender Inequality," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 151, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
    2. Renate Ohr, 2009. "European Monetary Union at Ten: Had the German Maastricht Critics Been Wrong?," Departmental Discussion Papers 141, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    3. Corinna Ahlfeld, 2009. "The scapegoat of heterogeneity - How fragmentation influences political decisionmaking," Departmental Discussion Papers 143, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    4. Stephan Klasen & Silke Woltermann, 2005. "The impact of demographic dynamics on economic development, poverty and inequality in Mozambique," Departmental Discussion Papers 126, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    5. Stephan Klasen & Melanie Grosse & Rainer Thiele & Jann Lay & Julius Spatz & Manfred Wiebelt, 2004. "Operationalizing Pro-Poor Growth - Country Case Study: Bolivia," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 101, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    poverty; inequality; population growth; Mozambique;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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