The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Birth-and-Death Processes

  • Yuji Ijiri
Reference work entry


Birth-and-death processes offer a helpful tool in analysing the growth process and the resulting size distribution of entities. The size of an entity is measured by the number of elements that belong to it. The birth-and-death process may comprise both the process by which elements are added to or deleted from the entity as well as to the process in which entities are added to or deleted from the population of entities. Examples of entities and their elements (stated in parentheses) are: cities (residents), firms (employees, customers, sales units, asset units), persons (income units), genera (species), authors (articles published), and words (appearances in a text).

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuji Ijiri
    • 1
  1. 1.