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Children Versus Ideas: an “Influential” Theory of Demographic Transition

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  • Zakharenko, Roman

Abstract

In this paper, I build on Blackmore (2000) to propose a formal theory of demographic transition (fertility decline) and associated growth of the stock of knowledge. The novelty of this theory is to entirely exclude private consumption from the objective function of the decision makers, and to assume that their goal is to maximize their social influence, that is, the number of people in the next generation utilizing their ideas. With high communication costs, one’s ideas are utilized mainly by his/her children, which creates an incentive to have as many children as possible. With modern communication technologies, one’s ideas can be used by millions, which makes people invest time into improvement of own ideas rather than production of children. Even those who can influence only their own children are induced to have smaller families and improve own ideas, because their children now have access not only to ideas of parents but also to ideas from the outside world.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 17478.

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Date of creation: 23 Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:17478

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Keywords: demographic transition; social influence; economic growth;

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  1. Cosmides, Leda & Tooby, John, 1994. "Better than Rational: Evolutionary Psychology and the Invisible Hand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 327-32, May.
  2. Jere Behrman & Hans-Peter Kohler & Susan Watkins, 2002. "Social networks and changes in contraceptive use over time: Evidence from a longitudinal study in rural Kenya," Demography, Springer, vol. 39(4), pages 713-738, November.
  3. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2000. "Natural Selection and the Origin of economic Growth," Working Papers 2000-18, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  4. George B. Roberts, Chairman, Universities-National Bureau Committee for Economic Research, 1960. "Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number univ60-2.
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Cited by:
  1. Zakharenko, Roman, 2011. "The Role of Passionate Individuals in Economic Development," MPRA Paper 28552, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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