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It's A Sin - Contraceptive Use, Religious Beliefs, and Long-Run Economic Development

Author

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  • Prettner, Klaus

    () (Department of Economics)

  • Strulik, Holger

    () (Department of Business and Economics)

Abstract

This study presents a novel theory on the interaction of social norms, fertility, education, and their joint impact on long-run economic development. The theory takes into account that sexual intercourse is utility enhancing and that the use of modern contraceptives potentially conflicts with prevailing social norms (religious beliefs). The theory motivates the existence of two steady states. At the traditional steady state, the economy stagnates, fertility is high, education is minimal, and the population sustains a norm according to which modern contraceptives are not used. At the modern steady state, the population has abandoned traditional beliefs, modern contraceptives are used, fertility is low and education and economic growth are high. Social dynamics explain why both equilibria are separated by a saddlepoint-equilibrium (a separatrix), i.e. why it is so hard to transit from the traditional regime to the modern regime. Enhancing the value of education is identified as a promising policy to encourage contraceptive use and to initiate the take-off to long-run growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Prettner, Klaus & Strulik, Holger, 2014. "It's A Sin - Contraceptive Use, Religious Beliefs, and Long-Run Economic Development," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 11/2014, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sdueko:2014_011
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Klaus Prettner & Holger Strulik, 2017. "Gender equity and the escape from poverty," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 55-74.
    2. repec:kap:poprpr:v:38:y:2019:i:3:d:10.1007_s11113-018-09506-x is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Prettner, Klaus & Werner, Katharina, 2016. "Why it pays off to pay us well: The impact of basic research on economic growth and welfare," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(5), pages 1075-1090.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Religion; fertility; sex; contraceptive use; education; economic growth;

    JEL classification:

    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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