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J Popul Econ. 1988 Jun;1(1):5-16.

The notion of population economics.



Economic literature has not adequately addressed population problems and growth models have assumed the population growth rate as an exogenous constant. Life expectancy and the quality of documentation over a long period have corrected the problem of nonstationary population, however. In addition, mathematical and computational possibilities have been increased thereby allowing population issues to be considered endogenous and variable in models. Recognizing that population changes affect supply and demand and should be studied, a group of economists have found a society to address such population problems--the European Society for Population Economics. Within the realm of population economics are subfields that should be included in any studies. For example, economists must examine household behavior and its influence on having or not having children. Another subfield includes studying the effects of changes in birth rates. For example, birth rates affect age distribution and each age distribution has a typical distribution of demand. A young society would demand schooling and child care, while an old society would need elderly care and health facilities. To enhance optimum population growth, policy makers have several options. For example, family allowances and child care influence procreation, but they require an increase in state expenditures and taxes. Providing health care for all members of society improves the quality of the population and its size. Implementing a migration policy also increases the population. Education and retraining strengthens the quality of the labor force, but some argue that it does not lead to procreation.

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