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Fertility decisions when infant survival is endogenous

Author

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  • Alessandro Cigno

    (UniversitÁ di Firenze, FacoltÁ di Scienze Politiche, Via Laura 48, I-50121 Firenze, Italia)

Abstract

There is evidence that fertility is positively correlated with infant mortality, and that a child`s chance of surviving to maturity increases with the level of nutrition, medical care, etc. received in the early stages of life. By modelling parental decisions as a problem of choice under uncertainty, the paper shows that fertility and infant mortality are most likely to move in opposite directions if, as implicitly assumed by existing economic theories, parents believe that there is nothing they can do to improve the survival chances of their own children. By contrast, if parents realize that those chances improve with the amount they spend for the health, nutrition, etc. of each child that they put into the world, then fertility and infant mortality may move in the same direction. Under such an assumption, the model has the strong policy implication that directly death-reducing public expenditures are most effective, but stimulate population growth, at low levels of development. By contrast, at high levels of development, such expenditures tend to crowd out parental expenditures, and are a factor in fertility decline.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessandro Cigno, 1998. "Fertility decisions when infant survival is endogenous," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 11(1), pages 21-28.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:11:y:1998:i:1:p:21-28
    Note: Received: 14 October 1996 / Accepted: 28 July 1997 received in the early stages of life. By modelling parental decisions as a problem of choice under uncertainty, the paper shows that fertility and infant mortality are most likely to move in opposite directions if, as implicitly assumed by existing economic theories, parents believe that there is nothing they can do to improve the survival chances of their own children. By contrast, if parents realize that those chances improve with the amount they spend for the health, nutrition, etc. of each child that they put into the world, then fertility and infant mortality may move in the same direction. Under such an assumption, the model has the strong policy implication that directly death-reducing public expenditures are most effective, but stimulate population growth, at low levels of development. By contrast, at high levels of development, such expenditures tend to crowd out parental expenditures, and are a factor in fertility decline.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Endogeneous fertility · endogenous infant · mortality · development;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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