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Genetics, Family Structure, and Economic Growth

  • Paul J. Zak

    (Claremont Graduate University)

Recent biomedical research shows that roughly three-quarters of cognitive abilities are attributable to genetics and family environment. This paper presents a theory of growth in which human capital is determined by inheritable factors and family size. The distribution of income is shown to affect the number of births, with greater inequality raising the fertility rates and reducing output growth in the transitional dynamics. If human or physical stocks are sufficiently low, the model shows that an economy can be caught in a fertility-caused poverty trap, while countries with more resources will converge to a balanced growth path where the average transmission of human capital from parents to childern determines the long-run rate of output growth.

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Paper provided by Claremont Colleges in its series Claremont Colleges Working Papers with number 2000-21.

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Handle: RePEc:clm:clmeco:2000-21
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  1. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
  2. Tamura, Robert, 1996. "From decay to growth: A demographic transition to economic growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 20(6-7), pages 1237-1261.
  3. Bergstrom, T., 1995. "Economics of a Family Way," Papers 95-07, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  4. Robert J. Barro, 2013. "Inflation and Economic Growth," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 14(1), pages 121-144, May.
  5. Zak, Paul J & Knack, Stephen, 2001. "Trust and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 295-321, April.
  6. 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.
  7. Eric W. Bond & Ping Wang & Chong K. Yip, 1993. "A general two-sector model of endogenous growth with human and physical capital: balanced growth and transitional dynamics," Research Paper 9324, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  8. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1976. "Child Endowments, and the Quantity and Quality of Children," NBER Working Papers 0123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert F. Tamura, 1990. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3414, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Barro, Robert J. & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1995. "Technological Diffusion, Convergence and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1255, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Charles I. Jones, . "Population and Ideas: A Theory of Endogenous Growth," Working Papers 97018, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  12. Alesina, Alberto F & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 565, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Kristin J. Forbes, 2000. "A Reassessment of the Relationship between Inequality and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 869-887, September.
  14. Rubinstein, Y. & Tsiddon, D., 1998. "Coping with Technological Progress: the Role of Ability in Making Inequality so Persistent," Papers 27-98, Tel Aviv.
  15. Murphy, Kevin M & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1989. "Income Distribution, Market Size, and Industrialization," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(3), pages 537-64, August.
  16. Galor, Oded & Zang, Hyoungsoo, 1997. "Fertility, income distribution, and economic growth: Theory and cross-country evidence," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 197-229, May.
  17. Ann P. Bartel & Nachum Sicherman, 1997. "Technological Change and Wages: An Inter-Industry Analysis," NBER Working Papers 5941, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Galor, Oded & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1997. "Technological Progress, Mobility, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 363-82, June.
  19. Theodore C. Bergstrom, . "On the Evolution of Altruistic Ethical Rules for Siblings," ELSE working papers 017, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.
  20. Geddes, Rick & Zak, Paul J, 2002. "The Rule of One-Third," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 119-37, January.
  21. Zak, Paul J. & Feng, Yi & Kugler, Jacek, 2002. "Immigration, fertility, and growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 547-576, April.
  22. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2002. "Natural Selection And The Origin Of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1133-1191, November.
  23. Dahan, Momi & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1998. " Demographic Transition, Income Distribution, and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 29-52, March.
  24. Quah, Danny, 1997. "Empirics for Growth and Distribution: Stratification, Polarization, and Convergence Clubs," CEPR Discussion Papers 1586, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. Burdett, Ken & Coles, Melvyn G, 1997. "Marriage and Class," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 141-68, February.
  26. Stephen Knack, 2001. "Aid Dependence and the Quality of Governance: Cross-Country Empirical Tests," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 310-329, October.
  27. Ted Bergstrom, 1995. "Economic in a Family Way," Papers _028, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
  28. Stokey, Nancy L, 1996. " Free Trade, Factor Returns, and Factor Accumulation," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 421-47, December.
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