Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Public Event

Population, Poverty and Economic Development

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm

Economists, demographers and other social scientists have long debated the relationship between demographic change and economic outcomes. In recent years, general agreement has emerged to the effect that improving economic conditions for individuals generally lead to lower birth rates. But there is much less agreement about the proposition that lower birth rates contribute to economic development and help individuals and families to escape from poverty. 

As part of the Demographics and Development in the 21st Century Lecture Series, CGD hosted a discussion on April 7, 2009 on "Population, Poverty and Economic Development" featuring Steven W. Sinding, a senior fellow at the Guttmacher Institute. Sinding's paper examines recent evidence on this aspect of the debate, concludes that the burden of evidence now increasingly supports a positive conclusion, examines recent trends in demographic change and economic development, and argues that the countries representing the last development frontier, those of sub-Saharan Africa, would be well advised to incorporate policies and programs to reduce high fertility in their economic development strategies.

Shareen Joshi, Visiting Professor of International Development, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, served as a discussant and Rachel Nugent, Deputy Director, Global Health Program, Center for Global Development moderated the discussion.

Access Sinding's presentation (pdf, 123K)
Access Joshi's presentation (pdf, 3M)