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Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth

In: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition)

  • Gary S. Becker
  • Kevin M. Murphy
  • Robert Tamura

The authors' analysis of growth assumes endogenous fertility and a rising rate of return on human capital as the stock of human capital increases. When human capital is abundant, rates of return on human capital investments are high relative to rates of return on children, whereas, when human capital is scarce, rates of return on human capital are low relative to those on children. As a result, societies with limited human capital choose large families and invest little in each member; those with abundant human capital do the opposite. This leads to two stable steady states. One has large families and little human capital; the other has small families and perhaps growing human and physical capital. Copyright 1990 by University of Chicago Press.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Gary S. Becker, 1994. "Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition)," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck94-1.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 11239.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11239
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. Theodore W. Schultz, 1960. "Capital Formation by Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 68, pages 571.
    2. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, 1986. "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," NBER Working Papers 1793, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Rosen, Sherwin, 1976. "A Theory of Life Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S45-67, August.
    4. Barro, R.J., 1989. "Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries," RCER Working Papers 201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    5. Heckman, James J, 1976. "A Life-Cycle Model of Earnings, Learning, and Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S11-44, August.
    6. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
    7. Tamura, R., 1991. "Fertility , Human Capital and the "Wealth of Nations"," Working Papers 91-17, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
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