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Skill Composition, Fertility and Economic Growth


  • Creina Day


While high fertility persists in the poorest countries and fertility declines with per capita income in developing countries, fertility and per capita income are now positively associated across most developed countries. This paper presents a model where a Ushaped relationship between overall fertility and per capita income reflects within country differences in workforce skill composition and household choice of occupation, fertility and childrearing. The fraction of skilled workers rises with economic growth. By allowing for both differences in the fertility of skilled and unskilled workers and purchased childrearing inputs, we explain a poverty trap with high fertility, fertility decline with economic development and the possible reversal of fertility decline in a developed economy where most workers are skilled.

Suggested Citation

  • Creina Day, 2013. "Skill Composition, Fertility and Economic Growth," CAMA Working Papers 2013-47, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:een:camaaa:2013-47

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    Cited by:

    1. Creina Day, 2016. "Can Theory Explain the Evidence on Fertility Decline Reversal?," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 49(2), pages 136-145, February.

    More about this item


    fertility; economic growth; education; childrearing;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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