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Some 'academic inputs' into the pop. question



>From Baland and Robinson, draft paper, 1996:

"One common argument is that if all parents increase their families then
the effect on labor supply will cause the wage rate to fall. As Willis
(1987) showed, however, this effect is a pecuniary externality (in the
terminology of Scitovsky (1954)) which does not imply inefficiency when
markets are complete. While the assumption that markets are complete is
clearly unrealistic, thus far a convincing synthesis of market
incompleteness with population growth has not been made. In particular, it
is far from clear that the second best policy intervention in such a world
would be to attempt to restrict fertility. An alternative argument,
studied by Nerlove et al. (1987) is that population growth may have
adverse effects by crowding public goods and infrastructure, a counter
argument being that a larger population reduces the average cost of
provision. ... Recently there has been much interest in the issue of
whether or not population growth has important externalities by causing
rapid environmental degradation as in the model of Nerlove (1991). Indeed,
the empirical evidence of Allen and Barnes (1985) and Cropper and
Griffiths (1994) shows that population growth is positively related to
deforestation. ... [But these issues are best handled by environment
policy rather than by population policy]" (Baland and Robinson, 1996).

There is by now a HUGE (and I really mean HUGE!) body of literature and
findings which rebel against forcible intervention. Even the Cairo
conference on population shifted the focus to choice and well-being. The
consensus in the academic world about economic policy affecting the
economy and environment poliyc affecting the environment (rather than the
sheer size of population having anything to do with these things) is
almost complete.

Just a little 'academic' touch. I do apologize for my rather forceful
claims, sometimes a bit exaggerated! But this is a debate and not an
academic journal..., and most of my claims are actually fully supported by
tons of findings, else I would not be a 'believer' in those things.

SS


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