Geography, demography, and early development

Research paper by Murat Iyigun

Indexed on: 01 Jun '05Published on: 01 Jun '05Published in: Journal of Population Economics


This paper explores the role of geography in early development. It presents a model where the odds of survival are higher in geographically favorable regions. In such regions, higher life expectancy prompts parents to devote more of their resources to old-age consumption and enables them to invest relatively more in the quantity and quality of their offspring. Investment in education, together with population growth, helps geographically-favorable economies to attain high levels of a more educated population that is necessary for sustained economic growth. The empirical evidence is generally supportive of the view that geographic attributes influenced regional population levels in Europe and its colonial offshoots around 1500 A.D. and that they affected population levels and educational attainment in low-income countries of the 1990s.