The optimal momentum of population growth and decline

Feichtinger, G. & Wrzaczek, S. (2024). The optimal momentum of population growth and decline. Theoretical Population Biology 155 51-66. 10.1016/j.tpb.2023.12.002.

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About 50 years ago, Keyfitz (1971) asked how much further a growing human population would increase if its fertility rate were immediately to be reduced to replacement level and remain there forever. The reason for demographic momentum is an age–structure inertia due to relatively many potential parents because of past high fertility. Although nobody expects such a miraculous reduction in reproductive behavior, a gradual decline in fertility in rapidly growing populations seems inevitable. As any delay in fertility decline to a stationary level leads to an increase in the momentum, it makes sense to think about the timing and the quantum of the reduction in reproduction. More specifically, we consider an intertemporal trade-off between costly pro- and anti-natalistic measures and the demographic momentum at the end of the planning period. This paper uses the McKendrick–von Foerster partial differential equation of age–structured population dynamics to study a sketched problem in a distributed parameter control framework. Among the results obtained by applying an appropriate extension of Pontryagin’s Maximum Principle are the following: (i) monotony of adaptation efforts to net reproduction rate and convex decrease/concave increase (if initial net reproduction rate exceeds 1/is below 1); and (ii) oscillating efforts and reproduction rate if, additionally, the size of the total population does not deviate from a fixed level.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Population momentum, Age-structured optimal control, Extended Maximum Principle, Adaptation of net reproduction rate
Research Programs: Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Exploratory Modeling of Human-natural Systems (EM)
Economic Frontiers (EF)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2024 08:33
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2024 08:33

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