Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 1–25

The role of fertility and population in economic growth

Empirical results from aggregate cross-national data


  • James A. Brander
    • Faculty of Commerce and Business AdministrationUniversity of British Columbia
  • Steve Dowrick
    • Department of Economics Research, School of Social SciencesAustralian National University

DOI: 10.1007/BF00160435

Cite this article as:
Brander, J.A. & Dowrick, S. J Popul Econ (1994) 7: 1. doi:10.1007/BF00160435


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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© Springer-Verlag 1994