Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 1-25

First online:

The role of fertility and population in economic growth

Empirical results from aggregate cross-national data
  • James A. BranderAffiliated withFaculty of Commerce and Business Administration, University of British Columbia
  • , Steve DowrickAffiliated withDepartment of Economics Research, School of Social Sciences, Australian National University

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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.