Projects funded through the PopPov Initiative have studied the implications of demographic changes for economic growth, income distribution, and the incidence of poverty at the regional, national, and sub-national levels in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.
This map is is a visual representation of the countries where the PopPov network of researchers have studied social, health, and economic issues. Each red pin represents a PopPov project and is located in the country of study.
Trade has been posited as a key factor in economic development, and economists have argued that trade leads to higher income growth rates. Many developing countries have adopted increasingly open trade policies with the objective of spurring growth, though there is little evidence of the effect of trade on child health.
The study investigates the effects of population dynamics on the economic growth in Nigeria for the period of 1980 to 2010 by specifically determining the effects of fertility and infant mortality rates on economic growth. The study uses annual secondary time series data on infant mortality rate, fertility rate, and openness from World Development Indicators; government expenditure, saving and real Gross Domestic Product from Central Bank of Nigeria Statistical Bulletins; and primary school enrolment from various issues of the Annual Abstract of Statistics by National Bureau of Statistics.
This research explores the effect of population size and longevity on social welfare and public policies. It attempts to answer two main questions: How can the progress of nations be evaluated when populations differ in size, longevity and income distribution?What are the effects of fertility and mortality on economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa?
Few studies have examined the effects of high fertility or population growth at a subnational level, and there has been very little interest in separating effects of aggregate-level fertility from effects of individual fertility. The primary goal of this project is to assess the importance of a woman’s fertility (wanted and unwanted) and the level of fertility (alternatively, population growth or change in age structure in the village, district, or province) on her children’s welfare, measured by indicators such as mortality, nutritional status, and education.
Since the 1970s, many African countries have entered the demographic transition process; many are experiencing declining mortality rates, and entering into the second stage of the demographic transition of declining fertility rates. With this entry into the second stage of the transition, it is very likely that the country will experience a “demographic dividend” if a number of conditions are fulfilled, in particular with respect to the absorptive capacity of the labor market. This project aimed to reexamine the relationship between demographic and economic dynamics in Africa such as the notion of the demographic dividend with the focus on labor markets and migration.
Whereas knowledge regarding the operational design of reproductive health services is increasingly available, its impact on social and economic development is still poorly understood. This project and its five sub-projects analyze the relationships and interactions between reproductive health (RH) and poverty at the individual/household level, community level, and district level, relying on several data sources. Special attention is given to RH shocks and the impact of availability and use of reproductive health services on individual/household poverty.
Despite a high level of economic growth, population growth in Rwanda is still outpacing the rate of poverty reduction. To create capital and labor necessary for economic development, it is imperative that policymakers break the cycle of decreasing agricultural productivity, high population growth, and increasing poverty. This research examines the links among family planning, sectoral growth and income distribution in Rwanda.
This research estimates the effect of fertility on female labor force participation in a panel of countries using abortion legislation as an instrument for fertility. Findings show that removing legal restrictions on abortion significantly reduces fertility and estimate that, on average, a birth reduces a woman’s labor supply by almost 2 years during her reproductive life.
High unmet need for family planning has been hypothesized to negatively impact economic growth by reducing per capita incomes and increasing the incidence of poverty. In contrast, demographic transition, driven by fertility reduction, promotes growth, and allows large amounts of human capital investments by households, along with poverty reduction on a broad scale. This research draws from the theory of demographic transition to study the impact of fertility changes and attendant health implications on economic growth, inequality, and poverty.
One of the main theories on how fertility affects economic development is through the age structure effect, which is the main focus of this project. The age structure of a population follows from the historical sequence of fertility, mortality, and net migration, and directly determines the relative size of the working-age population. The demographic transition with fertility and mortality declines lead to a boost in the population of working age individuals and thus, can experience economic growth.
There is a very large but scattered literature debating the economic implications of high fertility. This study examines three themes through a review of the literature: 1) Does high fertility affect low-income countries’ prospects for economic growth and poverty reduction? 2) Does population growth exacerbate pressure on natural resources? 3) Are family planning programs effective at lowering fertility, and should they be publicly funded?
This project looks at the ways in which population growth affects economic well-being through changes in the quality and level of environmental resources in India
This project explores the impact of financial crisis on the poor in Indonesia. Data shows in the first year of the crisis, poverty rose by between 50 and 100 percent, real wages declined by around 40 percent, and household per capita consumption fell by 15 percent. The crisis affected the poorest, the middle-income households, and households in the upper part of the income distribution in Indonesia.
This project focuses on the early nutritional status of children and its effect on adult productivity by using longitudinal data to link early nutritional intake, nutritional status, and adult outcomes including productivity. A model of human capital investment and activity choice is used to explain facts describing gender differentials in the levels and returns to human capital investments and occupational choice. These include the higher return to and level of schooling, the small effect of healthiness on wages, and the large effect of healthiness on schooling for females relative to males.
The study assesses the trend and pattern of mortality and fertility rates and investigates the direction of causality between fertility and economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). While many regions of the world are already experiencing declines in mortality and fertility rates, and increases in economic growth and development, the mortality rate is still high in SSA, the fertility rate is rigidly downward, and economic growth is also very low.
This project is the first subproject of “The Effects of Health and Demographic Change on Economic Growth: Integrating Micro and Macro Perspectives.” This project contributes to a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that underlie the relationship among health, fertility, and economic growth and attempts to answer three questions: What are the long-term economic effects of interventions that affect population health or fertility? How is the relationship among health, population size, and economic outcomes influenced by local conditions? What are the biological, social, and economic structures that underlie the effects of health and fertility on aggregate economic variables?
This project assesses how systematic bias may cause traditional cross-country regression analyses to understate the economic benefits of fertility reduction. The bias results from the common observation that reductions in fertility do not affect all parts of the income distribution equally.
This research program aims to increase the understanding of how economy-wide policy interventions aimed at reducing fertility contribute to long-term economic growth. Specifically, we employ an economic-demographic simulation model to provide a quantitative assessment of the effect of reductions in fertility on output per capita.
This study attempts to quantify both by using the timing of plague epidemics as an instrument for labor supply, and estimates the elasticity of substitution between fixed and nonfixed factors in preindustrial England. Using data on rent in preindustrial England on population, the researcher analyzes the elasticity of these factors.
The study assesses the effect of health improvements on output per capita using a simulation model which analyzes the direct effect of health on worker productivity as well as indirect effects such as schooling, size and age-structure of the population, capital accumulation, and crowding of fixed natural resources. The results show that the effects of health improvements on income per capita are substantially lower than those that are often quoted by policymakers, and the period before any beneficial effects of an improvement in health are visible in GDP per capita can be long.
The objective of this study was to examine the consequences of the AIDS epidemic on economic development, using a population model. This population model identified the main channels through which AIDS, while raising mortality rates of young adults and lowering fertility rates, affected populations over time.
With rapidly declining fertility and increased longevity, the age structure of the labor force in developing countries has changed rapidly. Changing relative supply of workers by age group and by educational attainment can have profound effects on labor costs.
Several subprojects were produced as a result of this research program. One paper analyzes the distribution of fertility rates across the world using parametric mixture models.