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Technological Progress and Population Growth: Do we have too few children?


  • Koichi Futagami

    () (Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University)

  • Takeo Hori

    () (zDepartment of Economics, Hitotsubashi University)


Do we have too few children? We intend to address this question. In developed countries, the fertility rate has declined since WWII. This may cause a slowdown in the growth of GDP in developed countries. However, important factors for the well-being of individuals are per capita variables, like per capita growth and per capita consumption. In turn, the rate of technological progress determines the growth rates of per capita variables. If the population size is increasing, the labour inputs for R&D activity increase, and thus speed up technological progress. As individuals do not take account of this positive effect when deciding the number of their own children, the number of children may become smaller than the socially optimal number of children. However, an increase in the number of children reduces the assets any one child owns: that is, there is a capital dilution effect. This works in the opposite direction. We examine this issue using an endogenous growth model where the head of a dynastic family decides the number of children.

Suggested Citation

  • Koichi Futagami & Takeo Hori, 2009. "Technological Progress and Population Growth: Do we have too few children?," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 09-21, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
  • Handle: RePEc:osk:wpaper:0921

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Trimborn, Timo & Koch, Karl-Josef & Steger, Thomas M., 2008. "Multidimensional Transitional Dynamics: A Simple Numerical Procedure," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(03), pages 301-319, June.
    2. Lutz G. Arnold, 2006. "The Dynamics of the Jones R&D Growth Model," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(1), pages 143-152, January.
    3. Thomas M. Steger, 2003. "The Segerstrom Model: Stability, Speed of Convergence and Policy Implications," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 15(4), pages 1-8.
    4. Barro, Robert J & Becker, Gary S, 1989. "Fertility Choice in a Model of Economic Growth," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 481-501, March.
    5. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:15:y:2003:i:4:p:1-8 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Technological Progress; Fertility; R&D;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General

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