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The Politics of Fertility and Economic Development

Author

Listed:
  • Yi Feng

    (Claremont Graduate University)

  • Jacek Kugler

    (Claremont Graduate University)

  • Paul Zak

    (Claremont Graduate University)

Abstract

This paper presents a formal model that characterizes the two faces of development - persistent poverty, as well as industrialization and rising incomes - and establishes that the interaction between politics and economics determines which path a nation travels. We demonstrate that political factors affect fertility decisions so that a one-time disturbance compounds across generations, impacting a country's entire development trajectory. Modeling strategic multi-objective policy-setting by the government, we derive a new concept of political capacity and prove that a sufficient amount of political capacity is necessary to escape a poverty trap and develop the economy. Empirical tests for a sample of 100 countries from 1960 to 1990 provide strong support for the predictions of the formal model. In particular, we show that both political stability and political capacity significantly influence birth rates. We conclude that politics can be either a stimulant or barrier to economic development.

Suggested Citation

  • Yi Feng & Jacek Kugler & Paul Zak, "undated". "The Politics of Fertility and Economic Development," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 1999-36, Claremont Colleges.
  • Handle: RePEc:clm:clmeco:1999-36
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martin C. McGuire & Mancur Olson Jr., 1996. "The Economics of Autocracy and Majority Rule: The Invisible Hand and the Use of Force," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 72-96, March.
    2. Feng, Yi, 1997. "Democracy, Political Stability and Economic Growth," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(03), pages 391-418, July.
    3. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert Tamura, 1994. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 323-350 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1976. "Child Endowments and the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages 143-162, August.
    5. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
    6. John Cawley & Karen Conneely & James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 1996. "Cognitive Ability, Wages, and Meritocracy," NBER Working Papers 5645, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Galor, Oded & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1997. "The Distribution of Human Capital and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 93-124, March.
    8. Magee,Stephen P. & Brock,William A. & Young,Leslie, 1989. "Black Hole Tariffs and Endogenous Policy Theory," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521377003, March.
    9. Barro, Robert J & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1997. "Technological Diffusion, Convergence, and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 1-26, March.
    10. Bond, Eric W. & Wang, Ping & Yip, Chong K., 1996. "A General Two-Sector Model of Endogenous Growth with Human and Physical Capital: Balanced Growth and Transitional Dynamics," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 149-173, January.
    11. Chen, Baizhu & Feng, Yi, 1996. "Some political determinants of economic growth: Theory and empirical implications," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 609-627, December.
    12. Hanushek, Eric A, 1992. "The Trade-Off between Child Quantity and Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 84-117, February.
    13. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vatcharin Sirimaneetham, 2006. "Explaining policy volatility in developing countries," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 06/583, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    2. Dalton Conley & Gordon C. McCord & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2007. "Africa's Lagging Demographic Transition: Evidence from Exogenous Impacts of Malaria Ecology and Agricultural Technology," NBER Working Papers 12892, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Sanyal, Prabuddha & Babu, Suresh, 2008. "Aid effectiveness and capacity development: Implications for economic growth in developing countries," IFPRI discussion papers 838, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Vatcharin Sirimaneetham, 2006. "What drives liberal policies in developing countries?," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 06/587, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.

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