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Fertility versus productivity: a model of growth with evolutionary equilibria

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  • James Foreman-Peck

    (Cardiff University)

  • Peng Zhou

    (Cardiff University)

Abstract

We develop a quantitative model that is consistent with three principal building blocks of Unified Growth Theory: the break-out from economic stagnation, the build-up to the Industrial Revolution, and the onset of the fertility transition. Our analysis suggests that England’s escape from the Malthusian trap was triggered by the demographic catastrophes in the aftermath of the Black Death; household investment in children ultimately raised wages despite an increasing population; and rising human capital, combined with the increasing elasticity of substitution between child quantity and quality, reduced target family size and contributed to the fertility transition.

Suggested Citation

  • James Foreman-Peck & Peng Zhou, 2021. "Fertility versus productivity: a model of growth with evolutionary equilibria," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 34(3), pages 1073-1104, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:34:y:2021:i:3:d:10.1007_s00148-020-00813-2
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-020-00813-2
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fertility transition; Industrial Revolution; English economy; Economic development;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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