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Human capital accumulation, fertility and growth: a re-analysis

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  • Murat F. Iyigun

Abstract

This paper develops an economic growth model with endogenous fertility. In doing so, it provides a new explanation for the relation between fertility, economic development and human capital accumulation. The model emphasizes the role returns on human capital play in economic development through individuals' al­location of time between acquiring human capital and production and rearing of children. In the model, production and rearing children are time intensive and accumulating human capital requires time and has a cost. Individuals' stock of human capital depends positively on the time allocated to education and on their parents' stock of human capital. Moreover, increases in the parents' stock of hu­man capital raises the rate of return on human capital investment. As a result, individuals choose to allocate more time to education and less to producing and rearing children as their parents' stock of human capital increases. The model also demonstrates that individuals' choices on fertility and education may lead to multiple equilibria. Specifically, even if individuals' utility depends relatively more on their own consumption rather than on the number of children that they have, countries that have a low enough initial stock of human capital converge to a development trap with large families, little human capital and low output per capita.

Suggested Citation

  • Murat F. Iyigun, 1995. "Human capital accumulation, fertility and growth: a re-analysis," International Finance Discussion Papers 523, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:523
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    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/ifdp/1995/523/default.htm
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 257-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Birdsall, Nancy, 1988. "Economic approaches to population growth," Handbook of Development Economics,in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 477-542 Elsevier.
    4. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    5. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, 1988. "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(1), pages 1-25.
    6. Galor, Oded & Weil, David N, 1996. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 374-387, June.
    7. Sundstrom, William A. & David, Paul A., 1988. "Old-age security motives, labor markets, and farm family fertility in antebellum American," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 164-197, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Murat F. Iyigun, 1996. "Timing of childbearing, family size and economic growth," International Finance Discussion Papers 573, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Blackburn, Keith & Cipriani, Giam Pietro, 2002. "A model of longevity, fertility and growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 187-204, February.

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    Keywords

    Human capital;

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