There has been intense debate in the literature on what determines growth in an economy. Some scholars believe that increases in the population of a nation tantamount to economic progress, in that, it provides a huge base of labour force. However, others have argued that these increases could be a curse rather than a blessing, because if the increase in the number of people in the economy is not supported with conscious efforts at training and holistic development of human capital, then disaster is eminent. But a few scholars also believe that population assumes a neutral position in economic growth process, that is, population does not directly impact growth directly, but it interaction with other growth determinants (such as human capital development, research and development, technology and so on) is what actually determine growth or otherwise in the economy. This paper therefore sought to assess the role of these growth determinants in economic growth performance in Nigeria. The study employed time series data for the period 1981 – 2013. Using Augmented Cobb-Douglass Production Function (gleaning from Solow Growth Model), and relying on error correction modelling framework, the econometric results established the fact that population growth has the potentials of fostering economic growth in Nigeria, but underlined the fact that this and other benefits would depend on, not only the chunk of the entire population that is active, but the quality of the population. Amongst other policy options suggested, it was advocated that policy measures that will foster target-oriented and skill-enhancing education and training should be designed and implemented. Provision of accessible and affordable healthcare for a healthy population was also advocated if Nigeria’s population growth must be advantageous.
Godwin Essang Esu,
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