Economic Theories of population growth

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Population Growth and Natural Resources 73

3.2 Economic Theories of Population Growth
In this section the demographic transition process observed in the previous section will be examined in terms of economic theories.

3.2.1 The Malthus model
Thomas Robert Malthus …1766±1834† is known as a pioneer in the economic theory of population. His Principle of Population …[1798] 1926† was a re¯ection of England 's premiere entrance into the process of modern demographic transition.
His population theory may be summarized as follows: as with other animals, human beings have a natural instinct to bear children to a physical maximum; under this `®xity of passion ' people tend to multiply in an exponential rate; where the production of
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Population Growth and Natural Resources 75

following the Agricultural Revolution. Even if the wage rate per hour may not have increased very signi®cantly, the household income level increased from increased working hours and employment of females and children. Such a condition induced people in the labour class to marry earlier and produce more children. When this tendency coincided with decreases in the death-rate
…owing to improved living conditions† the ®rst population explosion in the epoch of modern economic growth took place in England. Indeed, the way that the birth-rate responded positively to increased income per capita was consistent with Malthus 's theory. Such a positive response through adjustments in the marriage age and rate can be universally observed in premodern societies, e.g. Wrigley and Scho®eld …1981† for England, and
A. Hayami …1992† for Japan. The rising trend of the birth-rate for Phase 1 in
England seems to re¯ect the premodern response to the early phase of industrialization. To predict the future course of demographic changes in developing economies, a more general model should be envisaged that is able to explain both the empirical relevance of the Malthus theory for the early phase and its divergence from reality in the later phase of development. Attempts to build such a model have used an approach of maximizing the utility function common to household members …Leibenstein, 1957; Easterlin, 1975;
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