Demography and the concept and analysis of an "optimal" population poses an economic framework for population resources versus costs. In Spring 2019 I've taken a course on Economic Demography, comparing and analyzing population, fertility, and age-structure models as well as testing these theories versus historical data and simulations in R.
Numerous economic concepts and analysis techniques can be abstracted or applied to actuarial, financial economic, or data analytics type work.
Labs (R md) \ Discussions:
- Lab 12 \ Discussion - Education as Mortality Differential Over Old-Age
- Lab 11 \ Discussion - Labor Market Effects of the Mariel Boatlift
- Lab 10 \ Discussion - Marriages: Complementarity vs. Substitution (Benefits and Costs to "Opposites Attract")
- Lab 9 \ Discussion - Son-Preference: China's 1-Child Policy (Parity Progression Ratios)
- Lab 8 \ Discussion - Cost of Time: Micro-economic Models of Fertility (An Investivation of Historical Switzerland)
- Lab 7 \ (Spring Break) - No Lab
- Lab 6 \ Discussion - Population Aging in Japan (Low Fertility?)
- Lab 5 \ (In Class) - Population Projection (Age Pyramids and Stable Age Structures)
- Lab 4 \ Discussion - "The Bet": Simon-Ehrlich Wager (Scarcity, sustainability with respect to birth & death rates)
- Lab 3 \ Discussion - Solow's Neo-classical Growth Model (Cobb-Douglas production function)
- Lab 2 \ Discussion - Malthus in Sweden (Fertility as crude birth and death rates with respect to wage)
- Lab 1 \ Discussion - World Population (Exponential growth models)
Course Description - Econ 175 (Syllabus)
Are more people good or bad for economic growth and well-being? How does population growth affect the environment? What effect do we expect immigrants to have on the economy? How could slower population growth increase economic inequality? How do technological progress and population influence each other? What economic theories can help us understand why people get married and divorced or how many children people have? Why do people migrate? What are the main drivers of mortality improvement? These and other questions will be addressed using economic theory and real-world data.
In this course we will study the economic causes and consequences of population change. Using examples from history and the present, from the United States and around the world, this course aims to provide students with an understanding of a wide range of population issues.
There is a computing component to the course. Weekly assignments will give students a chance to work with data, as well as computer simulations, using the R computing language.
Course Readings (.pdf's)
- [Week 1] Sauvy - (1966) General Theory of Population. [Power Optimum & Economic Optimum]
- [Week 2 A] Thomas Malthus (1798) An Essay on the Principle of Population (1st edition)
- [Week 2 B] Ronald Lee (1980) “An Historical Perspective on Economic Aspects of the Population Explosion: the Case of Pre-industrial England [only pages 517-520 and 541-546]