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Population growth and urban development

One useful issue raised by Tony Abbott, Dick Smith and, with less coherence, by Pauline Hanson, is the size of Australia’s immigration intake. Do we want cities of Melbourne and Sydney to have populations of 8 million by 2050? Do we wish, under a high immigration intake scenario, seek to double our total population by […]

Targeting ZPG

Australian fertility rates of around 1.88 babies per woman are quite high by developed country standards but still well below replacement fertility which many claim is around 2.1. Thus Australia could achieve ZPG simply by controlling the migration intake. The intake would still be non-negligible because Australia exports many residents each year who seek to […]

Unnecessary population pressures

I am unhappy with the recent forecasts of population doubling for Australia by 2100. Not with the forecasts themselves but with the fact that the forecasters have “sniffed the wind” correctly and sense that the Australian mania for continued population expansion will keep running until, presumably, we experience the diseconomies that such growth makes inevitable. […]

Some population economics in China

I am residing in a hotel at the entrance to the Central Southern Univerity of Forestry and Technology in Changsha, Hunan Province, China. I have been holding seminars and classes at the University and, about twice a day, sampling the excellent Hunannese cuisine – spicy hot but not as hot as Sichuan. It has been […]

John Stuart Mill on nature, population size & the value of solitude

I’ve used it before but, who cares, its my favourite Mill quote. Its about the most sensible general statement on “optimal population” and the need to co-exist with nature that I have come across.


Population-size & the environment

These are the comments I made at a Productivity Commission Roundtable on a paper by Don Henry that was concerned with environmental population interactions. More generally I was concerned with synthesising a variety of approaches to this issue – from extreme libertarian ‘gains-from-trade’ arguments favouring a large population to extreme Malthusian arguments that supporters of […]

Population & the Environment

I’ve spilt a lot of printers ink on this topic over the years. Here is a draft of some notes I prepared for a Productivity Commission meeting next week. Comments welcome.


Migration & population economics

For the most part I have refrained from entering into the current discussions on migration and population targeting. My preferred approach to these issues – as an economist – is to recognise the potential for economic gains from migration and population increase and then to look for policies that guarantee resident Australians will be better […]

Economics of population growth

Mark Crosby over at Core Economics has a post on population economics that created stress for me. Stress because it argues an intellectual position I (and many others) have being trying to combat for many years.


Urban population trends

Bernard Salt’s Population Growth Report 2007 for KPMG (I could not yet find an online version) makes interesting reading. Melbourne has joined the ranks of Australia’s fastest growing capital cities with nearly double the growth rate of Sydney and close to the growth rates of boom cities like Perth and Brisbane. But the Queensland coastline […]