Population growth and economic development : policy questions / Working Group on Population Growth and Economic Development, Committee on Population, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council.

Contributor(s): National Research Council (U.S.). Working Group on Population Growth and Economic DevelopmentMaterial type: TextTextPublication details: Washington, D.C. : National Academy Press, 1986Description: ix, 108 pages ; 23 cmContent type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 0309036410; 9780309036412Subject(s): Population Growth | Developing Countries -- economics | Public Policy | Socioeconomic Factors | Developing countries -- Population | Developing countries -- Economic conditionsAdditional physical formats: Online version:: Population growth and economic development.DDC classification: 304.6/09172/4 LOC classification: HB884 | .P6655 1986NLM classification: 2009 E-411Also issued online.Abstract: This report addresses 9 often debated questions centered on the relationships between population growth and economic development. Specifically, it is asked whether slower population growth will: 1) increase the growth rate of per capita income through increasing per capita availability of exhaustible resources, 2) increase the growth rate of per capita income through increasing per capita availability of renewable resources, 3) alleviate pollution and the degradation of the natural environment, 4) lead to more capital per worker, thereby increasing per worker output and consumption, 5) increase per capita levels of schooling and health, 6) decrease the degree of inequality in the distribution of income, and 7) facilitate the absorption of workers into the modern sector and alleviate problems of urban growth. It is additionally asked: 8) Do lower population densities lead to lower per capita incomes via a reduced stimulus to technologic innovation and reduced exploitation of economies of scale in production and infrastructure? and 9) Does a couple's fertility behavior impose costs on society at large? The report finds little support for either the alarmist or the more complacent viewpoint regarding the economic effects of population growth. It is concluded, on balance, that slower population growth would be beneficial to economic development for most developing countries, although a rigorous quantitative assessment of these benefits is difficult and context-dependent. Whether the economic problems caused by population growth are best approached by slowing the population growth rate depends ultimately on the costs of alternative policy responses. Reducing the number of unwanted births in a family results in both direct welfare gains to the family and in gains to society at large.
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Includes bibliographical references and index.

This report addresses 9 often debated questions centered on the relationships between population growth and economic development. Specifically, it is asked whether slower population growth will: 1) increase the growth rate of per capita income through increasing per capita availability of exhaustible resources, 2) increase the growth rate of per capita income through increasing per capita availability of renewable resources, 3) alleviate pollution and the degradation of the natural environment, 4) lead to more capital per worker, thereby increasing per worker output and consumption, 5) increase per capita levels of schooling and health, 6) decrease the degree of inequality in the distribution of income, and 7) facilitate the absorption of workers into the modern sector and alleviate problems of urban growth. It is additionally asked: 8) Do lower population densities lead to lower per capita incomes via a reduced stimulus to technologic innovation and reduced exploitation of economies of scale in production and infrastructure? and 9) Does a couple's fertility behavior impose costs on society at large? The report finds little support for either the alarmist or the more complacent viewpoint regarding the economic effects of population growth. It is concluded, on balance, that slower population growth would be beneficial to economic development for most developing countries, although a rigorous quantitative assessment of these benefits is difficult and context-dependent. Whether the economic problems caused by population growth are best approached by slowing the population growth rate depends ultimately on the costs of alternative policy responses. Reducing the number of unwanted births in a family results in both direct welfare gains to the family and in gains to society at large.

Also issued online.

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