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From Malthus to modern growth: child labor, schooling and human capital

  • Edgar Vogel

    ()

    (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA))

This paper develops a dynamic general equilibrium model of fertility, human capital accumulation, child labor and uncertain child survival focusing on the qualitative and quantitative effect of declining mortality on household decisions and economic development. Due to uncertainty about child survival, parents have a precautionary demand for children. Rising survival probability leads to falling fertility, eventually to investment into schooling and the demise of child labor. Child labor can be an obstacle to development since it lowers the incentives of parents to educate children. Furthermore, the paper argues that the decline of precautionary child demand as a consequence of falling mortality is not sufficient to generate a demographic transition. Falling mortality can only explain a relatively small part of the fertility decline. A sizable reduction in fertility can only be achieved by human capital investment and the induced quantity-quality trade off.

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Paper provided by Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy in its series MEA discussion paper series with number 09180.

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Date of creation: 20 Apr 2009
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Handle: RePEc:mea:meawpa:09180
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  19. 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.
  20. Zvi Eckstein & Pedro Mira & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1999. "A Quantitative Analysis of Swedish Fertility Dynamics: 1751-1990," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(1), pages 137-165, January.
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  22. DE LA CROIX, David & DOEPKE, Matthias, 2001. "Inequality and Growth : Why Differential Fertility Matters," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2001008, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
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  25. Ram, Rati & Schultz, Theodore W, 1979. "Life Span, Health, Savings, and Productivity," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 399-421, April.
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  28. 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.
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