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A Reversal in the Relationship of Human Development with Fertility?

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  • Kenneth Harttgen

    (ETH Zürich)

  • Sebastian Vollmer

    (Georg-August-University Göttingen)

Abstract

For more than a hundred years, advances in development were associated with decreasing fertility rates. This led to total fertility rates far below replacement level in most developed countries. However, during the last decade fertility rates started to increase again in various developed countries. Myrskylä et al (2009) argue that the relationship of the human development index (HDI) with the total fertility rate (TFR) reverses from negative (increases in HDI are associated with decreases in TFR) to positive (increases in HDI are associated with increases in TFR) at a HDI level of 0.85. We revisit this topic and find that the reversal in the HDI-TFR relationship is neither robust to UNDP’s recent revision in the HDI calculation method nor the decomposition of the HDI into its education, standard of living and health sub-indices.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Courant Research Centre PEG in its series Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers with number 114.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:got:gotcrc:114

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Keywords: Human development; education; health; standard of living; fertility;

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  1. Tomás Sobotka, 2004. "Is Lowest-Low Fertility in Europe Explained by the Postponement of Childbearing?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 30(2), pages 195-220.
  2. Angela Luci & Olivier Thévenon, 2010. "Does economic development drive the fertility rebound in oecd countries ?," Working Papers 167, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED).
  3. Alkire, Sabina & Foster, James, 2011. "Counting and multidimensional poverty measurement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 476-487, August.
  4. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2010. "A New Data Set of Educational Attainment in the World, 1950–2010," NBER Working Papers 15902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Alícia Adserà, 2004. "Changing fertility rates in developed countries. The impact of labor market institutions," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 17-43, February.
  6. Hans-Peter Kohler & Francesco C. Billari & José Antonio Ortega, 2002. "The Emergence of Lowest-Low Fertility in Europe During the 1990s," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(4), pages 641-680.
  7. Hans-Peter Kohler & José Antonio Ortega, 2002. "Tempo-Adjusted Period Parity Progression Measures, Fertility Postponement and Completed Cohort Fertility," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 6(6), pages 91-144, March.
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