Journal Article

Human capital, technological progress and the demographic transition

Prskawetz, A., Steinmann, G., Feichtinger, G.
Mathematical Population Studies, 7:4, 343–363 (2000)


We emphasize the importance to consider components of population growth --- fertility and mortality --- separately, when modeling the mutual interaction between population and economic growth. Our model implies that two countries with the same population growth will not converge towards the same level of per capita income. The country with the lower level of birth and death rates will be better off in the long run. Introducing a spill over effect of average human capital on total productivity our model implies multiple equilibria as illustrated in Becker et al. (1990) and Strulik (1999). Besides the existence of a low and high level equilibrium - as characterized by low and high levels of per capita output respectively - we show the existence of multiple low level (Malthusian) equilibria. Initial conditions and parameters of technological progress and human capital investment determine whether an economy is capable to escape the low level equilibrium trap and to enjoy sustained economic growth.
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.