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The Fertility Transition: Economic Explanations

  • T. Paul Schultz

    ()

    (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

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    Economic explanations for the fertility transition focus on the role of returns to schooling, especially for women, which have encouraged women to obtain more education and facilitated the rise in women's wages relative to men's. The private opportunity costs of children have therefore increased, and parents have been motivated to substitute child schooling for additional births Declines in fertility have proceeded unevenly, first across the high income countries, and more recently across the low income countries. The cross sectional differentials in fertility are also frequently analyzed in household surveys, suggesting parallels with the cross-country comparisons. At an aggregate level, states have simultaneously legislated socialized support for the consumption of the elderly, which has eroded the incentives for childbearing, and subsidized child human capital through schools and public health programs, which has encouraged parents to demand fewer, higher quality, children.

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    File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp833.pdf
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    Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 833.

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    Length: 19 pages
    Date of creation: Aug 2001
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:833
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    1. Schultz, T. Paul (ed.), 1995. "Investment in Women's Human Capital," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226740874.
    2. Robert W. Fogel, 1999. "Catching Up with the Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 1-21, March.
    3. Schultz, T Paul, 1994. "Human Capital, Family Planning, and Their Effects on Population Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 255-60, May.
    4. Timothy Guinnane & Barbara Okun & James Trussell, 1994. "What do we know about the timing of fertility transitions in europe?," Demography, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 1-20, February.
    5. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
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