The results of recent correlations showing a negative impact of population growth on economic development in cross-country data for the 1980s, versus “nonsignificant” correlations widely found for the 1960s and 1970s, are examined with contemporaneous and lagged components of demographic change, convergence-type economic modeling, and several statistical frameworks. The separate impacts of births and deaths are found to be notable but offsetting in the earlier periods. In contrast, the short-run costs (benefits) of births (mortality reduction) increase (decrease) significantly in the 1980s, and the favorable labor-force impacts of past births are not fully offsetting.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Barlow, R. 1994. “Population Growth and Economic Growth: Some More Correlations.” Population and Development Review 20:153–65.
Barro, R.J. 1991. “Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 106:407–44.
Barro, R.J. and J. Lee. 1993. “Losers and Winners in Economic Growth.” Working Paper 4341. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.
Blanchet, D. 1988. “A Stochastic Version of the Malthusian Trap Model: Consequences for the Empirical Relationship between Economic Growth and Population Growth in LDC’s.” Mathematical Population Studies 1(1):79–99.
Bloom, D.E. and R.B. Freeman. 1988. “Economic Development and the Timing and Components of Population Growth.” Journal of Policy Modeling 10(1):57–81.
Boserup, E. 1965. The Conditions of Agricultural Growth: The Economics of Agrarian Change under Population Pressure. Chicago: Aldin E.
Brander, J.A. and S. Dowrick. 1994. “The Role of Fertility and Population in Economic Growth: Empirical Results from Aggregate Cross-National Data.” Journal of Population Economics 7:1–25.
Coale, A.J. 1986. “Population Trends and Economic Development.” Pp. 96–104 in World Population and U.S. Policy: The Choices Ahead, edited by J. Mencken. New York: Norton.
Fagerberg, J. 1994. “Technology and International Differences in Growth Rates.” Journal of Economic Literature 32:1147–75.
Kelley, A.C. 1988. “Economic Consequences of Population Change in the Third World.” Journal of Economic Literature 27:1685–1728.
— 1995. “Revisionism Revisited: An Essay on the Population Debate in Historical Perspective.” Forthcoming in Population, Development and Welfare: The Nobel Jubilee Symposium in Economics, edited by R. Ohlsson. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.
Kelley, A.C. and R.M. Schmidt. 1994. “Population and Income Change: Recent Evidence.” World Bank Discussion Paper 249. Washington, DC: World Bank.
Lee, R.D. 1974. “The Formal Dynamics of Controlled Populations and the Echo, the Boom, and the Bust.” Demography 11:563–85.
— 1983. “Economic Consequences of Population Size, Structure and Growth.” International Union for the Scientific Study of Population Newsletter 17:43–59.
Lucas, R.E. 1988. “On the Mechanics of Economic Development.” Journal of Monetary Economics 22:3–42.
Rebelo, S. 1991. “Long-Run Policy Analysis and Long-Run Growth.” Journal of Political Economy 99:1001–37.
Romer, P.M. 1986. “Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth.” Journal of Political Economy 94:1002–1037.
Simon, J. and R. Gobin. 1980. “The Relationship between Population and Economic Growth in LDCs.” Pp. 215–34 in Research in Population Economics, Vol. 2, edited by J.L. Simon and J. DaYanzo. Greenwich, CT: JAI.
Solow, R.M. 1956. “A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 70(1):65–94.
Summers, R. and A. Heston. 1994. “Data Update 5.5,” computer diskette based on The Penn World Table (Mark 5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons, 1950-1988. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the World Bank and the National Institutes for Child Health and Human Development, the research assistance of Joel R.K. Moody and Michael C. Kelley, the editorial assistance of Gail McKinnis, the feedback at seminars (Monash University, Melbourne; University of Indonesia, Jakarta; and East-West Center, Honolulu), and the comments by Robert H. Cassen, Robert L. Clark, Steve Dowrick, and two referees.
About this article
Cite this article
Kelley, A.C., Schmidt, R.M. Aggregate population and economic growth correlations: The role of the components of demographic change. Demography 32, 543–555 (1995). https://doi.org/10.2307/2061674
- Economic Growth
- Population Growth
- Population Growth Rate
- Technical Change
- Demographic Change