Similar conclusionshave been arrived at by the US National Research Council in 1986 and in theUN Population Fund (UNFPA) Consultative Meeting of Economists in 1992,
Moreover, these studies support Kuznets's explanation of why nodirect relationship
could beexpected between population growth and economic growth. Population growth and economicgrowth are linked through "a common set of political and social
institutions." Thus, any "directcausal relation" between them "may be quite limited."
Moreover, any relationship that ismeasured cannot be used as a basis for managing
population to affect economic growth.
It important to note that even if there are recent econometric studies that show that populationgrowth is negatively correlated with per capita income growth in the
Philippine case (i.e. anincrease in the population growth rate leads to a decrease in
per capita income growth rate),these studies cannot conclude that higher population
growth rates causes Sower per capitaincome growth rates. It is more probable that there are intervening factors such as thosementioned by Kuznets that may cause
economic growth. Thus, these studies cannot serve asbases for a policy that aims to reduce population growth to raise per capita income growth.So if population growth doesn't affect economic growth, what will? Good governance andwell-implemented economic policies. These things usually get done in a climate of
politicaland economic freedom.
in his book, The Ultimate Resource Julian Simon gives evidence for the crucial role that
political-economic systems play in economic growth when he compares three pairs of
countries thathave the same culture and history and practically had the same standard
before they split after World War li —East and West Germany, North and South Korea,
and Taiwan and China. In1950, both the communist and non-communist countries
had practically the same birthrates andthe centrally planned economies had less
population pressure than their market-directedcounterparts as measured by population per square kilometer. Yet the economic growth of West Germany, South Korea, and Taiwan was better than their counterpart centrally plannedeconomies. Due
to faster economic growth, personal incomes in Taiwan and South Korea wereroughly double China and North Korea, respectively while those in West Germany's was more
than 10% larger than East Germany in the early 1980s (see Table 1).
Table 1.Population density, 1950 and real income per capita,
1950, 1980, and 1982 for selected countries*
East Germany West GermanyGermany
Population density, 1950** 171 201Real gnp per capita, 1950*** 2,9432,943Real gnp per capita, 1982 9,91411,032
Population density, 1950
Real gnp per capita, 1950 Realgnp per capita, 1982