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Mortality, Fertility, and Saving in a Malthusian Economy

  • Michele Boldrin

    (University of Minnesota)

  • Larry E. Jones

    (University of Minnesota)

We develop a model of fertility choice by utility maximizing households, based on an explicit notion of intergenerational external effects. In contrast to previous economic literature, we assume that the external effects run from children to parents. This gives rise to a fundamentally different reason for bearing of children, as parents expect to be cared for, at least partially, by their children in their old age. We take the behavior of infant mortality since 1541 as the key exogenous variable and endogeneize the size of the transfer from children to parents by linking it to the endogenous savings and fertility choice of the parents. This generates a dynamic model of a Malthusian society that performs substantially better, qualitatively and quantitatively, than previous economic models of endogenous fertility. (Copyright: Elsevier)

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/redy.2002.0186
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Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 5 (2002)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 775-814

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Handle: RePEc:red:issued:v:5:y:2002:i:4:p:775-814
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  1. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Malthus to Solow," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1205-1217, September.
  2. Razin, Assaf & Ben-Zion, Uri, 1975. "An Intergenerational Model of Population Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 923-33, December.
  3. Haynes, Stephen E & Phillips, Llad & Votey, Harold L, Jr, 1985. " An Econometric Test of Structural Change in the Demographic Transition," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(3), pages 554-67.
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  11. Sah, Raaj Kumar, 1991. "The Effects of Child Mortality Changes on Fertility Choice and Parental Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 582-606, June.
  12. Rupa Chakrabarti, 1999. "Endogenous fertility and growth in a model with old age support," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 393-416.
  13. Kalemli-Ozcan, Sebnem & Ryder, Harl E. & Weil, David N., 2000. "Mortality decline, human capital investment, and economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 1-23, June.
  14. Zhang, Junsen & Nishimura, Kazuo, 1993. "The old-age security hypothesis revisited," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 191-202, June.
  15. Jensen, Eric R, 1990. "An Econometric Analysis of the Old-Age Security Motive for Childbearing," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(4), pages 953-68, November.
  16. Schultz, T Paul, 1969. "An Economic Model of Family Planning and Fertility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(2), pages 153-80, March/Apr.
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