chapter  11
26 Pages

The Social Sciences and the Population Problem 1

WithSamuel H. Preston

This chapter attempts to synthesize research in the social sciences that casts light on the nature and dimensions of the population problem. Social scientists have played the central role in documenting population growth patterns, identifying the problematic features of those patterns, and devising solutions to whatever problems exist. The conception of the population problem that is rooted in macroeconomics is that rapid population growth produces slower economic growth, as measured by output per capita or per worker. The outpouring of funds in response to the population problem directed a great deal of innovative research at the motives for childbearing in poor countries. Economic historians believe that population growth, by driving up the value of land relative to labor, was the principal force behind the enclosure movement, which established ownership rights to land.