This book looks at the debates surrounding the relation between population growth or decrease and economic development and social welfare and shows how these debates have been considered in the history of economics thought. The author focuses her analysis on the period from Mercantilism up to the beginning of the 20th century, showing that this relation is a common feature of different paradigms and it is also an uninterrupted issue of debate among economists. The author demonstrates that demographic change was also significant in the Marginalist, Neoclassical and Keynesian paradigms, arguing that the ideas of Marginalist authors on population and development in particular mainly went beyond the analytical frame of economic theory. This was due to the fact that in the static model that they developed population was an exogenous variable. Sunna considers such economists as Wicksell and Pareto with their theory of the “optimum population”, or Marshall with his theory of long period growth who tried to consider the population variable in the new analytical frame. Others, like Jevons, Walras, Edgeworth, Sidgwick, dealt with this subject in non-analytical works. All were influenced by the classical scheme and that even Keynes, up to the end of the Twenties, used a classical way of reasoning in order to explain unemployment as a demographic phenomenon.
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