The Population Debate in Historical Perspective: Revisionism Revisited

Duke Economics Working Paper No. 99-09

37 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2000

See all articles by Allen C. Kelley

Allen C. Kelley

Duke University - Department of Economics

Abstract

There appeared to be a dramatic shift of thinking from an alarmist and pessimistic assessment of the consequences of population growth prevalent before 1985, to a more balanced and eclectic assessment thereafter. It is argued that this shift, sometimes denoted as "revisionist thinking," is due less to a shift amongst economic demographers, and more to the elevation of economists' views vis-a-vis those of demographers, biologists, and others. The impact of the 1986 National Academy Report was profound, causing a careful consideration of the 1971 NAS report, discovered to be badly flawed in its presentation. Revisionism is re-defined to emphasize less the bottom-line results and more the methodology of evaluation, where a long-run perspective is espoused and (positive) feedbacks of initial adverse impacts of population growth are highlighted.

JEL Classification: J1, B2, N3, N31

Suggested Citation

Kelley, Allen C., The Population Debate in Historical Perspective: Revisionism Revisited. Duke Economics Working Paper No. 99-09, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=182633 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.182633

Allen C. Kelley (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

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