Population Matters: Demographic Change, Economic Growth, and Poverty in the Developing World

Paperback | May 29, 2003

EditorNancy Birdsall, Allen C. Kelley, Steven Sinding

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The effect of demography on economic performance has been the subject of intense debate in economics for nearly two centuries. In recent years opinion has swung between the Malthusian views of Coale and Hoover, and the cornucopian views of Julian Simon. Unfortunately, until recently, data weretoo weak and analytical models too limited to provide clear insights into the relationship. As a result economists as a group have not been clear or conclusive.This volume, based on a collection of papers that heavily rely on data from the 1980s and 1990s and on new analytical approaches, sheds important new light on demographic-economic relationships, and it provides clearer policy conclusions than any recent work on the subject. In particular, evidencefrom developing countries throughout the world shows a much clearer pattern in recent decades than was evident earlier: countries with higher rates of population growth have tended to see less economic growth. An analysis of the role of demography in the "Asian economic miracle" strongly suggeststhat changes in age structures resulting from declining fertility create a one-time "demographic gift" or window of opportunity, when the working age population has relatively few dependants, of either young or old age, to support. Countries which recognize and seize on this opportunity can, as theAsian tigers did, realize healthy bursts in economic output. But such results are by no means assured: only for countries with otherwise sound economic policies will the window of opportunity yield such dramatic results. Finally, several of the studies demonstrate the likelihood of a causalrelationship between high fertility and poverty. While the direction of causality is not always clear and very likely is reciprocal (poverty contributes to high fertility and high fertility reinforces poverty), the studies support the view that lower fertility at the country level helps create apath out of poverty for many families.Population Matters represents an important further step in our understanding of the contribution of population change to economic performance. As such, it will be a useful volume for policymakers both in developing countries and in international development agencies.

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The effect of demography on economic performance has been the subject of intense debate in economics for nearly two centuries. In recent years opinion has swung between the Malthusian views of Coale and Hoover, and the cornucopian views of Julian Simon. Unfortunately, until recently, data weretoo weak and analytical models too limited ...

Nancy Birdsall is President of the Center for Global Development and Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she directs the economic reform project. She was the Executive Vice President of the Inter-American Development Bank from 1993 until September 1998. She is the author of numerous publications o...

other books by Nancy Birdsall

Format:PaperbackDimensions:456 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.93 inPublished:May 29, 2003Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199261865

ISBN - 13:9780199261864

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Table of Contents

I. Setting the Stage1. Nancy Birdsall and Steven W. Sinding: How and Why Population Matters: New Findings, New Issues2. Allen C. Kelley: The Population Debate in Historical Perspective: Revisionism Revised3. John Bongaarts: Dependency Burdens in the Developing WorldII. Population Change and the Economy4. Allen C. Kelley and Robert M. Schmidt: Economic and Demographic Change: A Synthesis of Models, Findings, and Perspectives5. Jeffrey G. Williamson: Demographic Change, Economic Growth and Inequality6. Ronald D. Lee, Andrew Mason, and Tim Miller: Saving, Wealth, and Population7. David Bloom and David Canning: Cumulative Causality, Economic Growth and the Demographic TransitionIII. Fertility, Poverty and the Family8. Tom Merrick: Population and Poverty in Households: A Review of Reviews9. Robert Eastwood and Michael Lipton: Demographic Transition and Poverty: Effects Via Economic Growth, Distribution, and Conversion10. Ricardo Hausmann and Miguel Szekely: Inequality and the Family in Latin America11. Ricardo Paes de Barros, Sergio Firpo, Roberta Guedes Barreto, and Phillippe George Pereira Leite: Demographic Changes and Poverty in BrazilIV. Population, Agriculture and Natural Resources12. John Pender: Rural Population Growth, Agricultural Change and Natural Resource Management in Developing Countries: A Review of Hypotheses and Some Evidence from HondurasV. Some Economics of Population Policy13. Jere R. Behrman: Why Micro Matters14. Nancy Birdsall: New Findings in Economics and Demography: Implications for Policies to Reduce Poverty

Editorial Reviews

`This book is one of the most important contributions in the past few years to the debate about the macro consequences of population change.'Journal of Peace Research