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The Long-Run Effects of Mortality Decline in Developing Countries


  • Lehmijoki, Ulla

    () (University of Helsinki)

  • Palokangas, Tapio K.

    () (University of Helsinki)


Since World War II, mortality has declined in the developing world. This paper examines the effects of this mortality decline on demographic and economic growth by a family-optimization model, in which fertility is endogenous and wealth yields utility through its status. The decline in mortality stimulates investment and generates an income stream which promotes population growth, but the desire of status hampers fertility and prevents capital-diluting demographic expansion. If status-seeking is strong, then the decline of mortality decreases population growth below its original level.

Suggested Citation

  • Lehmijoki, Ulla & Palokangas, Tapio K., 2011. "The Long-Run Effects of Mortality Decline in Developing Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 5422, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5422

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gary S. Becker & Tomas J. Philipson & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2005. "The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 277-291, March.
    2. Oded Galor, 2006. "The Demographic Transition," Working Papers 2006-24, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    3. Stefania Albanesi & Claudia Olivetti, 2014. "Maternal health and the baby boom," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5, pages 225-269, July.
    4. Matthias Doepke, 2005. "Child mortality and fertility decline: Does the Barro-Becker model fit the facts?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 18(2), pages 337-366, June.
    5. Ehrlich, Isaac & Kim, Jinyoung, 2005. "Endogenous fertility, mortality and economic growth: Can a Malthusian framework account for the conflicting historical trends in population?," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 789-806, October.
    6. 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.
    7. Fisher, Walter H. & Hof, Franz X., 2005. "Status seeking in the small open economy," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 209-232, June.
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    More about this item


    mortality; population growth; economic growth;

    JEL classification:

    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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