Humans budgeted

February 20, 1998

The lifetime cost to society of each extra person could be anything up to Pounds 60,000, say economists from Yale University.

William Nordhaus and Joseph Boyer calculated the lifetime cost to society of each person in terms of impact on living standards and the environment. They say these range from Pounds 1,500 in the lowest income countries to Pounds 60,000 in high-income countries. "There is a dispute about the impact of population growth on living standards," said Professor Nordhaus. "We calculate three ways an extra person affects the economy: they consume natural resources, require a share of capital resources and generate emissions that contribute to global warming. These are societal costs beyond what a parent pays to raise a child."

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