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The Role of Economic Fertility and Population in Economic Growth - Essay Example

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The academic article entitled “The Role of Economic Fertility and Population in Economic Growth: Empirical Results from Aggregate Cross-National Data” by James Brander and Steve Dorwick posits from two sets of cross-country panel data that higher birth rates reduce economic growth through investment effects and probably from capital dilution…
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Download file to see previous pages And although there was a slowdown in per capita growth from the period 1961-85, Brander and Dorwick attributes this due to a decline in technological progress and less so due to the doubling of population at the world level. Finally, technological change is taken as an exogenous variable in the models of this paper, where possible recommendations include detailed modeling of endogenous emergence of technological progress as an outcome of the maximization by firms in an imperfectly competitive environment and keeping in mind that per capita income approximates the economic welfare of both children and adults. Ever since the inception of scientific studies which tackle population or fertility as an underlying reason of economic stagnation, there has been an increase not only in awareness of overpopulation as a leading factor for poverty, but also in general funding for contraceptives both from private and public institutions. To this extent, key people in society have agreed that the population problem is the principal element for long-term economic development. Even before this study of Brander and Dorwick, the United States has already adopted a policy the National Security Memorandum 200: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests which gives priority on population control measures and the promotion of contraception among 13 populous countries. Insofar as the effects of overpopulation is concerned, media including USAID has touted the rational that the U.S. economy requires large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad and that these countries can produce destabilizing opposition forces without support for population-related efforts. Initial regression equations proposes per capita output growth as the dependent variable and population growth and crude birth rate as individual independent factors affecting per capita income. The theoretical framework used for the paper by Brander and Dowrick, however, has its roots in the aggregate production function, Y = Y(K,H,R;O,o) where Y represents domestic output, K represents capital, H represents effective labor input, R represents fixed factors of production such as land and natural resources, O represents the states of technology and o represents other factors. After parametric transformation, the main factors considered to affect per capita output growth in percent includes annualized five year growth rate in the share of population of working age, annualized five year population growth rate, investment as a % share of GDP (5 year average) and the log of relative productivity. Sub-regressions were made for growth in working age share of population versus birth rates and investment as affected by birth rate, relative price of investment and income. All in all, the channels by which fertility affects per capita income include the share of population of working age, the change in population growth rates leading to changes in availability of capital and natural resources per person and economies of scale, and through per capita investment rate, all of which lead to a negative relationship with per capita income. Like all regression models, the model by Brander and Dorwic ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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