Diluting the Capital Stock
Whereas, Malthus worried about the effects of population on the use of natural resources, some modem theories of economic growth emphasize its effects on capital accumulation. According to these theories, high population growth reduces GDP per worker because rapid
growth in the number of workers forces the capital stock to be spread more thinly. In other words, when population growth is rapid, each worker is equipped with less capital. A smaller quantity of capital per worker leads to lower productivity and lower GDP per worker.
This problem is most apparent in the case of human capital. Countries with high population growth have large numbers of school-age children. This places a larger burden on the educational system. It is not surprising, therefore. that educational attainment tends to be low in countries with high population growth The different es in population growth around the world are large. In developed countries, such as the United states those in Western Europe, the population has risen only about 1 percent per year in recent decades . expected to rise even more slowly in the future. By contrast, in many poor African countries, pop at about 3 percent per year. At this rate, the population doubles every 23 years. This rapid popular makes it harder to provide workers with the tools and skills they need to achieve high levels of productivity.