Growth and survival

From email
Matt Berkley
10 August 2000

Growth and survival

Dear Ed,

Here are some thoughts on what we discussed [on the telephone].

The CEPR paper mentions the possibility that the poorest dying off can make the figures look better. This still seems plausible to me, but more plausible is that the figures look better if non-productive people die. ...

It would seem sensible to compare countries' national and bottom-quintile growth rates along with 1) fertility rates; 2) ratios of productive to non-productive members of households; and 3) death rates among non-productive members of households (under-fives would be a good start).

In practice there are more children than adults - so many that more than 50% of all deaths in the global poorest quintile are of people under 15, even though the death rate for people in this age group is 21% . A small percentage increase in their death rate results in a large number of children dying.

I do wonder how in a situation where a high numbers of children die, there could be more debate about the effects of growth on fertility rates and survival rather than on tiny changes in income.