04 October 2017

New publication: Global Population Growth, Technology, And Malthusian Constraints

How much further will the global population expand? Can all these extra mouths be fed? And what is the role in this story of economic growth? These fundamental questions are scrutinized in the article "Global Population Growth, Technology and Malthusian Constraints: A Quantitative Growth Theoretic Perspective" written by Prof. Tim Swanson and his co-authors Bruno Lanz (University of Neuchatel) and Simon Dietz (London School of Economics). The article just appeared in the journal International Economic Review

The authors take a novel perspective on the topic by formulating a model of economic growth in which global population, food production, agricultural land, technological progress, and per capita income are jointly determined. They demonstrate that the model is able to closely replicate global development paths observed from 1960 to 2010, and then use the model to evaluate possible global trajectories up to 2100. 

The core results suggest that global population can be expected to grow further over the course of the 21st century, reaching 12.4 billion in 2100, together with a doubling of GDP per capita and agricultural production. However, agricultural land area is expected to stabilize by 2050 around 10 percent higher than what is currently observed. While growth in these outcomes all decline over time, these results represent a "business-as-usual'' view of the world.