Malthusian trap or social policy ?

March 18, 2008

Check the interaction between fertility and per capita income in Gabon and Congo-Brazzaville in this Gapminder chart.

Did growth in income per capita drive the increased fertility before 1970 ? Was the post-1976 decrease in fertility caused by falling income or was it the result of policy decisions ?

Notice that Gabon had, by far, the lowest fertility rate in 1950 on the continent and the highest per capita income.

I’m also intrigued by the 1978-1984 bump in congolese income per capita. Obviously it wasn’t the oil since Gabon didn’t experience the same thing (though Gabon has a bigger capacity back then). And politically, those were interesting times.


2 Responses to “Malthusian trap or social policy ?”

  1. Cho Says:

    A useful resource!

    Regarding the “Gabon bump”….surely the question is whether that bumb was unique to Gabon…It seems common to other economies. RSA, Botswana and other more stable economies exhibit similar one can only speculate that its “external factors”.

  2. aflakete Says:

    Which bump ? The fertility increase pre-1976 ? Or the decrease that followed ?

    If it’s the decrease, yeah, something happened in the mid-late-70’s that made fertility rates go down all over Africa (if not the world). Of course some countries reacted later and some earlier but that’s beyond the point. Isn’t it when everybody was writing about the pending overpopulation ? May be the WHO had prioritized on it back then.

    If it’s the increase, yeah it’s not unique either but there are exceptions like Nigeria and Ghana or Tanzania. I don’t know if it’s because their rates were already high or if it’s policy matter (especially in Tanzania) or if it’s because they were at the end of a growth circle of their own.
    It is very possible that the 1950 to mid-70’s increase is actually a long cycle of African countries getting back to their pre-colonization or pre-slavery rates.

    It’s still interesting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: