Population and economic growth: Ancient and modern

Elise S. Brezis, Warren Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This paper focuses on the evolution of the relationship between population and economic growth from Hume to New Growth Theory. In this paper, we show that there were two main views on the subject. There were those who assumed that the relationship between fertility rate and income was positive. On the other hand, there were those who raised the possibility that this linkage did not occur, and they emphasised that an increase in income did not necessarily lead to having more children. Following from Hicks’ methodological precept, the paper will show that their position on the issue was related to a socio-economic fact: the sibship size effect. We show that those who took the view that an increase in income leads to the desire to have more children did not take into consideration the sibship size effect, while those maintaining that there existed a negative relationship introduced into their utility function a sibship size effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-271
Number of pages26
JournalEuropean Journal of the History of Economic Thought
Issue number2
Early online date21 Feb 2014
StatePublished - 3 Mar 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Taylor & Francis.


  • Population
  • children
  • economic growth
  • fertility rates
  • sibship size effect


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