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Economic development and population growth: an inverted-U shaped curve?

There has been a large debate on the relations between demography and economic development. Our paper discusses the possibility that there exists an inverted-U curve, similar in shape to Kuznets’s curve, between the growth rate of population and the growth rate of the per-capita GDP. The cross-country empirical analysis, carried out on over 90 countries in the period 1980-2010, seems to confirm the existence of this kind of curve. The main reasons behind this phenomenon are discussed. First, it is difficult to sustain a high economic growth either with a low (lower than 0.5%) or high (higher than 2-2.5%) growth rate of population. In the first case, an excessive ageing of population causes the well-known negative consequences. In the second case, the possibilities of large households of providing children with adequate nourishment, education and health are reduced. Moreover, without a perfect capital market, it is difficult to promote new firms and innovation unless adequate personal or family resources are available

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Paper provided by University of Turin in its series Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers with number 201105.

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Length: 13 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uto:dipeco:201105
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  1. Matteo Cervellati & Uwe Sunde, 2011. "Life expectancy and economic growth: the role of the demographic transition," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 99-133, June.
  2. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Jaypee Sevilla, 2001. "Economic Growth and the Demographic Transition," NBER Working Papers 8685, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Maddison, Angus, 2007. "Contours of the World Economy 1-2030 AD: Essays in Macro-Economic History," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199227204, March.
  4. David E. BLOOM & Jocelyn E. FINLAY, 2009. "Demographic Change and Economic Growth in Asia," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 4(1), pages 45-64.
  5. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Pia N. Malaney, 1999. "Demographic Change and Economic Growth in Asia," CID Working Papers 15, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  6. James A. Brander & Steve Dowrick, 1993. "The Role of Fertility and Population in Economic Growth: Empirical ResultsFrom Aggregate Cross-National Data," NBER Working Papers 4270, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2010. "A New Data Set of Educational Attainment in the World, 1950-2010," NBER Working Papers 15902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Bloom, David E & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 1998. "Demographic Transitions and Economic Miracles in Emerging Asia," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(3), pages 419-55, September.
  9. 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.
  10. Choudhry, Misbah T. & Elhorst, J. Paul, 2010. "Demographic transition and economic growth in China, India and Pakistan," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 218-236, September.
  11. Allen Kelley & Robert Schmidt, 2005. "Evolution of recent economic-demographic modeling: A synthesis," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 275-300, 06.
  12. Azomahou, Théophile & Mishra, Tapas, 2008. "Age dynamics and economic growth: Revisiting the nexus in a nonparametric setting," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 67-71, April.
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