Population and development

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Aims and scope: 

Using the demographic transition as its framework, the course examines different analytic approaches to the main interrelationships between population change and socio-economic development. It draws on a variety of theoretical and historical experiences to address and explore these interconnections. It aims to provide balance between theoretical understanding, knowledge of empirical evidence and basic causal processes, and implications for policy. The course begins by providing an overview of the worlds current demographic situation at both the global and the regional levels. It then addresses Malthusian and anti-Malthusian perspectives on the basic relationships linking population growth and economic growth. These contrasting perspectives are considered in the context of both historical and contemporary experience. The course then proceeds to assess demographic transition theories and their relationships to theories and processes of economic development, urbanisation and socio-structural change. Urban growth, migration, and urbanization receive special attention. The implications of population change for issues of employment, savings and investment are considered, as are issues relating to energy, food production and security, carbon emissions and climate change. Contemporary neo-Malthusian arguments, with their environmental components are also considered, as are issues relating to women's empowerment, democratization  and population aging.

  1. Introduction. The Demographic Transition: Origins, Processes, Effects
  2. World Population and the Transition
  3. The Demographic Transition: Facts and Theory
  4. Urbanization and the Transition
  5. Social Effects of the Transition
  6. Economic and Political Effects
  7. Conclusions, Discussion, the Future
Indicative reading: 

Tim Dyson (2010) Population and Development - The Demographic Transition. Zed Books.

Teaching modules: