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Cheap Children and the Persistence of Poverty

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  • Omer Moav

Abstract

This paper develops a theory of fertility that offers an explanation for the persistence of poverty within and across countries. If educated individuals have a comparative advantage in raising educated children then parental fertility choice is shown to give rise to a poverty trap, in which the poor choose high fertility rates with low investment in child quality. Moreover, the impact of child quality choice on economic performance is amplified by the diluting effect of higher fertility on physical capital accumulation. The theory proposes insights regarding the effects of inequality, globalisation and life expectancy on economic growth and demographic transitions. Copyright 2005 Royal Economic Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Omer Moav, 2005. "Cheap Children and the Persistence of Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 88-110, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:115:y:2005:i:500:p:88-110
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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