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The Effects of Rapid Population Growth on Labor Supply and Employment in Developing Countries

David E. Bloom and Richard B. Freeman
Population and Development Review
Vol. 12, No. 3 (Sep., 1986), pp. 381-414
Published by: Population Council
DOI: 10.2307/1973216
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1973216
Page Count: 34
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The Effects of Rapid Population Growth on Labor Supply and Employment in Developing Countries
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Abstract

This article examines the principal effects of rapid population growth on labor supply and employment in developing economies. On labor supply, issues treated include the lags between population growth and labor force participation; the independent effects on labor supply of accelerated population growth due to changes in fertility, mortality, and migration; patterns and trends in labor force participation rates; and gender differences in labor supply behavior. The discussion of labor demand focuses on the factors that condition labor absorption capacity. Despite unprecedented population growth and imperfections in labor markets, developing economies between 1960 and 1980 tended to shift from low-productivity agriculture to the higher productivity service and industrial sectors and to raise real income per capita. For the remainder of this century, forecast population growth can likely be accommodated, provided the developing economies generate human and physical capital investments of comparable relative magnitudes to the past two decades.

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