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World population growth and fertility patterns, 1960-2000. A simple model explaining the evolution of world's fertility during the second half of the 20th Century

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  • Enriqueta Camps

    ()

  • Stanley Engerman

Abstract

In this paper we attempt to describe the general reasons behind the world population explosion in the 20th century. The size of the population at the end of the century in question, deemed excessive by some, was a consequence of a dramatic improvement in life expectancies, attributable, in turn, to scientific innovation, the circulation of information and economic growth. Nevertheless, fertility is a variable that plays a crucial role in differences in demographic growth. We identify infant mortality, female education levels and racial identity as important exogenous variables affecting fertility. It is estimated that in poor countries one additional year’ of primary schooling for women leads to 0.614 child less per couple on average (worldwide). While it may be possible to identify a global tendency towards convergence in demographic trends, particular attention should be paid to the case of Africa, not only due to its different demographic patterns, but also because much of the continent's population has yet to experience improvement in quality of life generally enjoyed across the rest of the planet.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1107.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision: Jun 2013
Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1107

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Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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Keywords: Fertility; human capital; infant mortality; race; population growth;

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  1. Galor, Oded & Weil, David, 1995. "The Gender Gap, Fertility and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 1157, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Stanley L. Engerman & Kenneth Lee Sokoloff, 2002. "Factor Endowments, Inequality, and Paths of Development among New World Economies," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  3. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert Tamura, 1994. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 323-350 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Moradi, Alexander & Baten, Joerg, 2005. "Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa: New Data and New Insights from Anthropometric Estimates," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1233-1265, August.
  5. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong-Wha, 1994. "Sources of economic growth," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-46, June.
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