Your excellency, Dear Sir / Madam,

We have just published our seventh set of papers, this time focused on Population and Demography.

What’s the smartest target?

As reported by Britain's The Telegraph today, providing universal access to sexual and reproductive health services and eliminating the unmet need for contraception will reduce population growth. It will annually result in 640,000 fewer newborn deaths, 150,000 fewer maternal deaths and 600,000 fewer children who lose their mother. With fewer kids, the parents can afford better schooling. At the same time, societies will enjoy a demographic dividend, with few dependents and many in the work force, driving faster economic growth.

Professors Hans-Peter Kohler and Jere R. Behrman from the University of Pennsylvania estimate that the costs will be about $3.6 billion/year, but the benefits are more than $400 billion annually. In total, each dollar spent will do $120 of benefits.

Population and Demography Targets Annual Benefits ($B) Annual Costs ($B) Benefit for Every Dollar Spent
Universal access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services by 2030 AND eliminate unmet need for modern contraception by 2040. $432 $3.6 $120
Reduce barriers to migration within low- and middle-income countries, as well as between low and middle-income countries and high-income countries.     >$45
Eliminate age-based eligibility criteria for retirement.     High
Promote more efficient and more equitable urbanization.     High
Increase low fertility in high-income countries.     <$1
Maintain and expand public pension eligibility at “relatively young" old ages.     Low

At the same time developed countries face a problem of ageing. The authors suggest that we should tackle this in a simple way: increasing access to migration, which will rejuvenate ageing workforces and, has benefits of more than $45 per dollar spent. This is much more effective than increasing fertility organically within rich countries via subsidies or incentives.
You can read the all the reports at

Here, Copenhagen Consensus Center has just released its latest research series on Population and Demography targets for the Post-2015 agenda. Hans-Peter Kohler, Professor of Demography and Jere R. Behrman, Jr. Professor of Economics both from the University of Pennsylvania write the main report, peer-reviewed in alternative perspective papers by David Canning, Professor of Population Sciences and of Economics and International Health at the Harvard School of Public Health, and by Oded Galor, Professor of Economics, Department of Economics and by Gregory Casey, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Economics both from Brown University. Additionally, Michael Herrmann, Senior Advisor on Population and Economics at UNFPA and member of the United Nations task team on the post-2015 development agenda and sustainable development goals presents a viewpoint paper concerning Kohler and Behrman’s analysis.

Best regards,
Bjorn Lomborg
PhD and Adjunct Professor
President of Copenhagen Consensus Center

PS. We're pleased that Mail & Guardian, the oldest quality newspaper in South Africa, will publish our articles on each of the 19 topic areas, ranging from health and trade to education and infrastructure.
Mail & Guardian is joining these 19 other papers:
- The East African
- Daily Graphic, Ghana
- Daily Trust, Nigeria
- The Zimbabwe Independent
- La Tercera, Chile  
- INFOBAE, Argentina
- Los Tiempos, Bolivia 
- El País, Uruguay
- La Nación, Paraguay  
- La Prensa, Panama
- La Prensa, Honduras
- La Prensa, Nicaragua 
- El Listín, Dominican Republic
- La Prensa Gráfica, El Salvador  
- El Periódico, Guatemala
- Milenio, Mexico
- El Universo, Ecuador 
- El Universal, Venezuela 
- El Comercio, Peru

PPS. The Post-2015 Consensus  project brings together 62 teams of economists with NGOs, international agencies and businesses to identify the targets with the greatest benefit-to-cost ratio for the UN's post-2015 development goals.  If you have questions about the project, send an email to Research Project Manager Brad Wong by replying to this email.
Each day on twitter we will be releasing the benefit-cost evaluation of a current UN OWG post-2015 target. Follow us to see how all 169 current targets rate according to leading economists.
Each day on twitter we will be releasing the benefit-cost evaluation of a current UN OWG post-2015 target. Follow us to see how all 169 current targets rate according to leading economists.
In a hurry?
Download the one page PDF summary here.

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