5fertility_notes_2010 - 1 Population Growth &...

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Unformatted text preview: 1 Population Growth & the Demographic Transition Broadly speaking, population growth rate = birth rate - death rate. Should we ex ante view high population growth rates as good or bad? Not really &if, for example, birth rates are really,really high, this is unlikely to be good, but cant say a lot. In some contexts, a high population growth rate might be really desirable, and there just isnt much in the way of correlation between population growth rates and "good" outcomes like wealth and schooling. Population growth has high inertia. Think about describing age-specic fertility rates or death rates. Women who are say 15-30 are likely to have higher fertility rates than women who are 30-40 who have higher fertility rates than women who are 40-50, due to biological factors as well as preferences. So, Consider a country which sees an increase in fertility over a few years. that means the fraction of the population who is young will grow, and in 15 years the fraction which is 15-30 will be larger. So later population will grow even more, just because there are more young women due to the earlier growth. In fact, this e/ect may be large enough to swamp a reduction in fertility in the medium run. Developing countries are very di/erent from developed countries today in terms of age distribution. 1 %0-15 %15-64 %65+ Africa 44 53 3 Latin America 34 61 5 Asia 32 63 5 North America 22 65 13 Europe 19 67 14 What causes population dynamics? Old historical thinking (18th cent) &Malthus &man is inherently lustful and sinful & would keep having kids, beyond the carrying capacity of the earth, resulting in larger death rates. Keeps the population young, with high birth rates and high death rates. This basically has two arguments: rst, people cannot control the number of children they have, and have many. Second, the earth can only support a certain number of people. However, neither of these arguments turned out not to hold up, as Europe and North America began a "demographic transition" shortly after Malthus wrote this. Demographic transition &rst phase &improvements in health technology/sanitation/etc. reduce the death rate. Older people start living longer. Technology also increased agricul- tural productivity, more food allowed the death rate to stay low. birth rates initially remained high, later fell. This happened over a couple hundred years; net result is that now, population growth in the developed world is only 0.7%. Consequences &demographic transitions have been much faster in many developing coun- tries, particularly in east and south east asia, often in 1 generation. In fact, in many coun- tries, infant mortality rates fell rst, followed by death rates at older ages. The net result 2 was a huge generation &many times the size of the baby boom in the US. during the 80s-90s (earlier for Japan), this generation came of age, and had reduced fertility themselves. The net result was that a large fraction of the population was in the labor force, productivity...
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5fertility_notes_2010 - 1 Population Growth &...

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