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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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File URL: http://www.claremontmckenna.edu/rdschool/papers/2000-21.pdf
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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. Theodore C. Bergstrom, 1995. "Economics in a Family Way," Labor and Demography 9507002, EconWPA, revised 06 Feb 1996.
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  8. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M & Tamura, Robert, 1990. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S12-37, October.
  9. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1995. "Technological Diffusion, Convergence, and Growth," NBER Working Papers 5151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Rodrik, Dani & Alesina, Alberto, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4551798, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. Charles I. Jones, . "Population and Ideas: A Theory of Endogenous Growth," Working Papers 98014, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  14. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
  15. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2001. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2727, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Dahan, Momi & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1998. "Demographic Transition, Income Distribution, and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 29-52, March.
  17. Zak, Paul J & Knack, Stephen, 2001. "Trust and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 295-321, April.
  18. Bergstrom, Theodore C, 1995. "On the Evolution of Altruistic Ethical Rules for Siblings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 58-81, March.
  19. 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.
  20. Robert J. Barro, 2013. "Inflation and Economic Growth," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 14(1), pages 121-144, May.
  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. 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.
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  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. Rubinstein, Yona & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1999. "Coping with Technological Progress: The Role of Ability in Making Inequality so Persistent," CEPR Discussion Papers 2153, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  27. Ken Burdett & Melvyn G. Coles, 1997. "Marriage and Class," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 141-168.
  28. 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.
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