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The Role of Fertility and Population in Economic Growth: Empirical ResultsFrom Aggregate Cross-National Data

  • James A. Brander
  • Steve Dowrick

Two recently improved sets of cross-country panel data are combined in order to re-examine the effects of population growth and fertility on economic growth. Using a 107 country panel data set covering 1960-85, we find that high birth rates appear to reduce economic growth through investment effects and possibly through "capital dilution", although classic resource dilution is not evident in the data. Most significantly, however, birth rate declines have a strong medium-term positive impact on per capita income growth through labour supply or "dependency" effects.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4270.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4270.

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Date of creation: Feb 1993
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Journal of Population Economics, (February 1994)
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4270
Note: EFG
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
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  1. Samuelson, Paul A, 1984. "Second Thoughts on Analytical Income Comparisons," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(374), pages 267-78, June.
  2. Ronald D Lee & Andrew Mason & Tim Miller, 1998. "Saving, Wealth, and Population," Working Papers 199805, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  3. Dowrick, Steve & Gemmell, Norman, 1991. "Industrialisation, Catching Up and Economic Growth: A Comparative Study across the World's Capitalist Economies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(405), pages 263-75, March.
  4. Hazledine, Tim & Moreland, R Scott, 1977. "Population and Economic Growth: A World Cross-Section Study," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 59(3), pages 253-63, August.
  5. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2232, David K. Levine.
  6. Baumol, William J, 1986. "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: What the Long-run Data Show," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1072-85, December.
  7. Leff, Nathaniel H, 1969. "Dependency Rates and Savings Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(5), pages 886-96, December.
  8. James A. Brander, 1992. "Comparative Economic Growth: Evidence and Interpretation," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 25(4), pages 792-818, November.
  9. Beggs, John J, 1988. "Diagnostic Testing in Applied Econometrics," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 64(185), pages 81-101, June.
  10. Kelley, Allen C, 1988. "Economic Consequences of Population Change in the Third World," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 1685-1728, December.
  11. Johnson, D. Gale, 1999. "Population and economic development," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 1-16.
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