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Economic, Historical and Demographic Evidence vs RH Bill

Economic, Historical and Demographic Evidence vs RH Bill

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Published by raulnidoy
Secular reasons vs the Reproductive Health Bill which all sectors of society can participate in.
Secular reasons vs the Reproductive Health Bill which all sectors of society can participate in.

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Published by: raulnidoy on Feb 11, 2010
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A Primer on the proposed Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood, andPopulation Development Consolidated Bill
by Dr. Roberto de Vera, 11 September 2008
Note: This is a word version based on a scanned file of the original pdf file found inhttp://www.scribd.com/doc/21622530/Demographic-Economic-Historical-Evidence-vs-RH-Bill Please refer to the original file to ensure accuracy of data.
Various groups of Malthusian bent claim that today's high food and fuel prices that are
impoverishing more people are caused by overpopulation. So they propose that it would bereasonable to stabilize the population through a reproductive health,
responsible parenthoodand population development bill that promoteseconomic
growth and lifts people out of their poverty.We reckon that their proposal rests on five assertions: 1) Higher population growth
leads toslower economic growth; 2) A larger population means more hungry and
malnourished people;3) Our population growth is out of control; 4) Larger families are poor families; and 5)Instituting a two-child population policy, through the proposed
Reproductive Health,ResponsibleParenthood and Population Development Bill, will
significantly reduce poverty.
How does this proposal and itsassertions hold in the face of economic, historical anddemographic evidence?After examining each assertion, we find that available statistics andscientific studies
do notsupport the claim that "too many people" means "more poor people". Bad governance and badeconomic policies, not a large, fast growing population, are the real causes of poverty. Thus,we recommend that more efforts be placed on improving governance and implementing goodeconomic policies. More specifically, we have
found that:
1) Population growth has little or nodirect effect on per capita GDP growth. Thus, thereis no basis for a policy that aims to reduce population growth to raise per capita GDPgrowth.2) Poverty is usually caused by poor governance and inappropriate and badly implementedeconomic policies—which leads to corruption, poor tax collections, lack of educationand roads, lack of irrigation systems —instead of a
large and increasing population.Thus, instead of having a bill that promotes reproductive health and populationmanagement, we should focus efforts on the
gaps in governance and policyimplementation that hinder and slow down
economic growth.
3) Large families are poor not because they are large but because most of the
heads of thesepoor families have limited schooling which prevents them from
getting good paying jobs. Moreover, a 1994 study shows that parents of poor families want the childrenthey beget. These findings show that there is no basis for having a populationmanagement policy that raises economic growth to reduce poverty.
This paper draws heavily from "Too Many People Doesn't Cause Poverty, Bad Governance and
PoliciesDo" by by Emilio T. Antonio, Ronilo Balbieran, Enrico Basilic, Jovi Dacanay, Roberto de Vera, StephenHuang, Maia Tyche King, Winston Stan Padojinog, Cherrylyn Rodolfo, Kimberiy
San Agustin, LeandroTan, Cid Terosa, Peter Lee U, Bernardo M. Villegas (12 October 2004). The
comments and viewsexpressed in this paper are solely the responsibility of the author and do not represent any position heldby the University of Asia and the Pacific School of Economics.
4) The population history of developed countries shows that implementing a two-childpolicy, via the consolidated bill, will place the country in a virtually
irreversible courseof population decline and ageing that carries with it all kinds
of problems and thus thecountry would be well-advised to avoid it altogether.
5) The country's populationsituation—where the labor force is growing faster than thedependent (youth and elderly) population—gives it a wonderful opportunity to reap ademographic dividend (a period of rapid economic growth) that wouldreduce povertysignificantly for the next 35 years. Thus, instead of implementing a two-child policy,NGOs, firms and governments should focus their efforts on providing these futureworkers with access to education and training programs which prepare them to takewell-paid jobs and on
establishing a stable economic and political climate that attractsthe needed
investments that generates new jobs to match the additional 1.1-1.2 millionpotential workers each year.The rest of the paper elaborates on these findings.Assertion 1: Higher population growth leads to slower economic growthEconomic studies do not support this seemingly logical assertion. Nobel prize winner 
SimonKuznets's pioneering study contained in his 1966 book Modern EconomicGrowth: Rate,Structure and Spread (pp. 67-68) showed that "[n]o clear association appears toexist in thepresent sample of countries, or is likely toexist in the other 
developed countries, betweenrates of growth of population and of product per capita."Other studies have confirmedKuznets's findings, showing no clear link betweenpopulation growth and economic growth (or poverty). Here are the findings of five
(1) the 1992 Ross Levine and David Renelt study of the relationship between growth
and itsdeterminants found no significant effect of population growth on economic
(2) the 1994 Jeff Kling and Lant Pritchett study arrived at a similar finding where theyallowed the effect of population growth on economic growth to vary according to the level of development and resource scarcity;(3) in a 1996 review of the population growth-poverty relationship, Dennis Ahlburg points outthat studies have showed population growth has little or no direct effect on
(4) in a 2004 study examining the determinants of long term growth, Gernot Doppelhofer,Ronald Miller and Xavier Sala-l-Martin, found that average annual
population growth from1960-1990 was not robustly correlated with economic growth;
(5) the 2007 Eric Hanushek and Ludger Wommann study found that total fertility rates, whichcan be seen as an alternative measure of population growth, did not have a
statisticallysignificant association with economic growth.
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
North Korea
South Korea
Population density, 1950
Real gnp per capita, 1950 Realgnp per capita, 1982

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