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Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth

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  • Matthias Doepke

Abstract

In every developed country, the economic transition from pre-industrial stagnation to modern growth was accompanied by a demographic transition from high to low fertility. Even though the overall pattern is repeated, there are large cross-country variations in the timing and speed of the demographic transition. What accounts for falling fertility during the transition to growth? To answer this question, this paper develops a unified growth model that delivers a transition from stagnation to growth, accompanied by declining fertility. The model is used to determine whether government policies that affect the opportunity cost of education can account for cross-country variations in fertility decline. Among the policies considered, education subsidies are found to have only minor effects, while accounting for child labor regulation is crucial. Apart from influencing fertility, the policies also determine the evolution of the income distribution in the course of development.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Economic Growth.

Volume (Year): 9 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (09)
Pages: 347-383

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jecgro:v:9:y:2004:i:3:p:347-383

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102931

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  1. Oded Galor & Omer Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2004. "Land Inequality and the Origin of Divergence and Overtaking in the Growth Process: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2003-04, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  2. Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2005. "The Macroeconomics of Child Labor Regulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1492-1524, December.
  3. David de la Croix & Matthias Doepke, 2003. "Inequality and Growth: Why Differential Fertility Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1091-1113, September.
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  12. Morand, Olivier F, 1999. " Endogenous Fertility, Income Distribution, and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 331-49, September.
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  17. Fürnkranz-Prskawetz, Alexia & Kögel, Tomas, 2000. "Agricultural Productivity Growth and Escape from the Malthusian Trap," CEPR Discussion Papers 2485, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Tamura, Robert, 2002. "Human capital and the switch from agriculture to industry," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 207-242, December.
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  21. Matthias Doepke, 2005. "Child mortality and fertility decline: Does the Barro-Becker model fit the facts?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 337-366, 06.
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