IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

A Contribution to the Economic Theory of Fertility

  • Cordoba, Juan Carlos
  • Ripoll, Marla

The evidence strongly suggests a robust negative relationship between income and fertility, and a positive relationship between income and longevity. This is puzzling for standard dynamic models. For instance, altruistic models that use the most standard preferences in macro --time separable CRRA with low elasticity of intertemporal substitution (EIS)-- correctly predict a positive longevity-income relationship for rich individuals, but also predict a positive fertility-income relationship, contrary to the data. We show that a non-separable formulation of preferences that allows for a low EIS but a high "elasticity of intergenerational substitution" (EGS) can simultaneously account for the evidence of declining demand for children and increasing demand for longevity as income increases. The model with a single elasticity cannot account for both. Our results suggests a major role for a new parameter in macro, the EGS. While the EIS mostly influences short-term economic decisions, the EGS influences mostly long-term economic choices.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 33899.

in new window

Date of creation: 20 Jun 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:33899
Contact details of provider: Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Mikhail Golosov & Larry E. Jones & Michele Tertilt, 2004. "Efficiency with endogenous population growth," Working Papers 630, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Malthus to Solow," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1205-1217, September.
  3. Michael Bar & Oksana Leukhina, 2009. "Supplemental Notes to "Demographic transition and industrial revolution: A macroeconomic investigation"," Technical Appendices 08-85, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  4. Barro, Robert J & Becker, Gary S, 1989. "Fertility Choice in a Model of Economic Growth," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 481-501, March.
  5. Fernando Alvarez, 1999. "Social Mobility: The Barro-Becker Children Meet the Laitner-Loury Dynasties," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(1), pages 65-103, January.
  6. Larry E. Jones & Alice Schoonbroodt & Michèle Tertilt, 2008. "Fertility Theories: Can They Explain the Negative Fertility-Income Relationship?," NBER Working Papers 14266, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Birchenall, Javier A. & Soares, Rodrigo R., 2009. "Altruism, fertility, and the value of children: Health policy evaluation and intergenerational welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 280-295, February.
  8. Matthias Doepke, 2001. "Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth," UCLA Economics Working Papers 804, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1959. "Stationary Ordinal Utility and Impatience," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 81, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  10. Galor, Oded & Weil, David, 1995. "The Gender Gap, Fertility and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1157, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Oded Galor, 2011. "The Demographic Transition: Causes and Consequences," NBER Working Papers 17057, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert F. Tamura, 1990. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3414, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, . "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 85-11, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  14. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2002. "The Baby Boom and Baby Bust," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 1, Economie d'Avant Garde.
  15. Larry E. Jones & Michele Tertilt, 2006. "An Economic History of Fertility in the U.S.: 1826-1960," NBER Working Papers 12796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Crespo Jorge & Martín Carmela & Velázquez Francisco J, 2004. "The Role of International Technology Spillovers in the Economic Growth of the OECD Countries," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 4(2), pages 1-20, December.
  17. David K. Backus & Bryan R. Routledge & Stanley E. Zin, 2005. "Exotic Preferences for Macroeconomists," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 319-414 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Ben Gardiner & Ron Martin & Tyler Peter, 2004. "Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Growth across the European Regions," ERSA conference papers ersa04p333, European Regional Science Association.
  19. Oded_Galor, 2004. "From Stagnation to Growth:Unified Growth Theory," Working Papers 2004-15, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  20. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 1999. "From Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 150-154, May.
  21. Larry E. Jones & Alice Schoonbroodt, 2010. "Complements Versus Substitutes And Trends In Fertility Choice In Dynastic Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(3), pages 671-699, 08.
  22. Robert E. Lucas Jr. & Nancy L. Stokey, 1982. "Optimal Growth with Many Consumers," Discussion Papers 518, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  23. Cordoba, Juan Carlos & Ripoll, Marla, 2012. "Barro-Becker with Credit Frictions," Staff General Research Papers 35532, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  24. Broome, John, 2006. "Weighing Lives," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199297702.
  25. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716, August.
  26. Dolmas, Jim, 1996. "Balanced-growth-consistent recursive utility," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 657-680, April.
  27. Rodolfo E. Manuelli & Ananth Seshadri, 2009. "Explaining International Fertility Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 771-807, May.
  28. Matthias Doepke, 2002. "Child Mortality and Fertility Decline: Does the Barro-Becker Model Fit the Facts?," UCLA Economics Working Papers 824, UCLA Department of Economics.
  29. Farmer, Roger E A & Lahiri, Amartya, 2003. "Recursive Preferences and Balanced Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 3949, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  30. Michele Boldrin & Larry E. Jones, 2002. "Mortality, Fertility, and Saving in a Malthusian Economy," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 775-814, October.
  31. Ben-Gad, Michael, 1998. "Balanced-growth-consistent recursive utility and heterogeneous agents," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 459-462, November.
  32. Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S279-88, Part II, .
  33. George B. Roberts, Chairman, Universities-National Bureau Committee for Economic Research, 1960. "Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number univ60-2, July.
  34. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521532587 is not listed on IDEAS
  35. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521825511 is not listed on IDEAS
  36. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
  37. An, Galina & Iyigun, Murat F., 2004. "The export skill content, learning by exporting and economic growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 29-34, July.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:isu:genres:33899. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Curtis Balmer)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.