The University of Texas at Austin - Civitas Institute

Economic Growth and the Demographic Future of Humanity

Economic Growth and the Demographic Future of Humanity

February 16
Jesús Fernández-Villaverde

2023 might be the first year in the history of humanity where our species’ fertility rate falls below the replacement rate (approximately 2.1 children per woman). If current trends are not reversed, this means, among other things, that the world population will peak at some moment in the late 2050s/2060s and start falling afterward. Many regions of the world are already in this scenario: China’s total population began falling in 2021, and without immigration from the rest of the globe, the Americas -from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego- will start losing population in the early 2030s. This lecture will reflect on some of the social, political, and economic consequences of this systemic shift, focusing on the impact of economic growth. What would the output growth rate be in a world with a falling population? Are current debt burdens and welfare states sustainable? Is automatization a solution? What can policy do to mitigate the negative aspects of a falling population?

Lunch will be provided.

Sponsored by the Civitas Institute and the Department of Economics at UT Austin

Jesús Fernández-Villaverde is Professor of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania

He has worked for many years on demographics and economic growth. His most recent work in the area is “Demographic Transitions Across Time and Space.”


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