004 - Resources and Theories

Factual Question

How do economic theories based on resource consumption change over time?

Debatable Question

To what extent can economic theorists influence/change development networks?

Key Terminology

            • Optimum Population

            • Malthus

            • Neo-Malthusian

            • Boserup

Define the key terms above by using the 'Useful Links' below:

Useful Links

Activity One - Watch

We are going to watch two YouTube clips; the first YouTube clip provides a recap of how the global population is changing - this is from our first unit. The second YouTube clip is going to link the ideas of population and the limits to the resources our world has.

  1. Watch the first YouTube clip and write notes on the following points:

              • Demographic Transition Model

              • Industrial Revolution

              • Role of women

              • Economic progress

              • Change in population size - why?

              • Place - describe the changes in population size

              • Poverty

  2. Watch the second YouTube clip and write notes on the changing limits to growth:

              • Link between population, resources and the environment

              • Civilization crashes


In a nutshell - Melinda Gates

The Limits to Growth

Earth Days 2009 - Dennis Meadows

Activity Two - Describe

We are now going to investigate two specific economic theories that focus on the growth of the global population and resources. This is linked to the idea of biocapacity and prevailing technology which we discussed in our previous lesson.

      1. Look at the graphs below and describe what you think is happening. We will then discuss your answers as a group.

Activity Three - Comprehension

You now have a basic idea of how the two different theories differ quite radically. To develop your knowledge further use the information in the 'Useful Resources box to answer the following questions:

      1. With the aid of diagrams, write a description of Malthusian and Boserup´s theories.

      2. What are the limitations of both theories?

      3. What are the strengths of both theories?

      4. Who are the supporters of Malthusian theory? Why do they suggest that Malthusian theory is correct?

      5. Who are the supporters of Boserup today? Why do they suggest that Boserupian theory is correct?

Resource Theorists

Useful Resources

Malthus vs Boserup

Activity Four - Gender Equality - Resources - Development

So far we have explored the idea of resource use and the potential impact of that use from a high income versus low-income perspective but this can also be impacted by our gender. Ester Boserup wrote an article called 'Women's Role in Economic Development' in 1970 and it was groundbreaking at the time as it focused on the role that women played in agriculture. Economists had largely ignored the impact that women had in this arena up until this point. Read the section on 'Women in Development' in the article in the 'Useful Resource' box and write 300 words on how influential Ester Boserup was in bringing the role of women to light.


  • Women in development

  • Gender gap

  • Influence on the UN

  • Role of education

Suggested Terminology to use:

  • UN SDG

  • Economic development

  • Agricultural intensification

  • Women's inclusion

  • Demography

  • Fertility

  • Education

  • Equality

  • Malthus



  • Who is Ester Boserup?

  • What field did she work in?

  • Why is she is important?

Suggested Sentence Starters:

  • Ester Boserup was...

  • She specialised in the field of ...

  • Her main theory was ...

  • Boserup has been influential...

Main Body

  • What has she changed?

  • How can Boserup's theory and views have the possibility to change the future - link to the SDGs.

Suggested Sentence Starters:

  • Boserup's research into .... has helped to advocate ...

  • It was clear from her research that ...

  • Boserup's has influenced the ... which aim to reduce ...


  • Summary of her influence.

Suggested Sentence Starters:

  • To conclude, Ester Boserup has ...

  • She has influenced ...

Formal Presentation

  • 400 words

  • Size 12 font

  • Insert page numbers

  • Insert a header and put write in it your name, the year, I&S -Resources

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed formally using Criterion A - Knowing and Understanding, C - Communicating, and D - Thinking Critically - i - detailed discussion.