Slides in this set
Boserup was born on May 18th in Copenhagen , and died 1910 -
September 24, 1999. she was a Danish economist and writer and
studied economical and agricultural development. She worked at the
United Nations as well as other international organisations.
She believed that work undoes the assumption dating back to
Malthus's time that agricultural methods control population (via
food supply). As an alternative, Boserup argued that population
determines agricultural methods.
Her explanations that developments in women's health and
education were imaginably the best ways of achieving family
planning were noted at the UN Population Conference in Bucharest
in 1974. This anticipated resolutions made at the UN Population
Conference in Cairo in 1994. Above all, Boserup demonstrated the
interrelationship of technology change on the farm, in cities, or in
factories with socially constructed roles for women, men, children
and the elderly.
She said that an increase in population triggers changes in
This is shown in the flow chart below:
Population growth Increased Improved agricultural
food demand productivity
Raised ability to import
She argued that when population density is low
enough to allow it, land tends to be used
occasionally, with heavy reliance on fire to
clear fields and fallowing to restore fertility
(often called slash and burn farming).
It was her great belief that humanity would always find a way and was quoted in saying
"The power of ingenuity would always outmatch that of demand" in a letter to Northern
Irish philosopher T S Hueston. She also influenced debate on the role of women in
workforce and human development, and the possibility of better opportunities of work
and education for women.
Boserup's theory is that "necessity is the mother of invention."
Because the population had risen, the government had to take measures to adapt to
this growth. It had to improve and diversify agriculture, so proving agricultural
intensification and that "population growth causes agricultural growth."
Supporting Quotes…read more
Farming and fishing are its main ventures, with agriculture accounting for 10% of its GDP. This
is comprehensible since it has fertile soils and a tropical climate. Its exports are divided into four
main categories: sugar (32%), garments (31%), plastics (32%) and others (5%).
Its population in 1992 was 1,094,000 people. For 2025, the estimated population is 1,365,000.
This would mean a growth rate of 1.45%, with a doubling time of 47 years. Its fertility rate was
of 2.17 children per woman.
At first the population was maintained at a constant level, because there were equal birth and
death rates. Around the 1950s, the birth rate increased from 35 per thousand to more than 45 per
thousand. The death rate declined from 30 to 15 per thousand shortly afterwards.
The rate of natural increase was large, and there was a great pressure on the country for resources
because of this increasing population. It was then that the government had to intervene. It
promoted family planning, restricted early marriage, provided improved health care and looked to
improve the status of women. The government also worked on diversifying agriculture, invested
in industry and improved trading links.
Case Study: Mauritius…read more
With time, there were changes in general attitude toward family size and people
were getting married later. Many transnational companies came to Mauritius
because of tax incentives, the Freeport at Port Louis, the large number of
educated residents, a considerable amount of cheap labour and the good
transportation means present.
Because the population had risen, the government had to take measures to adapt
to this growth. It had to improve and diversify agriculture, so proving
agricultural intensification and that "population growth causes agricultural
growth." It also suggests that a country must improve its technology to be able
to support the growing population, and that many technologies will not be taken
advantage of if the population is not large enough. Mauritius had to build a
Freeport and improve transportation to be able to maintain its population.
Case Study, Continued...…read more