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The Effect of Interventions to Reduce Fertility on Economic Growth

  • Quamrul H. Ashraf
  • David N. Weil
  • Joshua Wilde

We assess quantitatively the effect of exogenous reductions in fertility on output per capita. Our simulation model allows for effects that run through schooling, the size and age structure of the population, capital accumulation, parental time input into child-rearing, and crowding of fixed natural resources. The model is parameterized using a combination of microeconomic estimates, data on demographics and natural resource income in developing countries, and standard components of quantitative macroeconomic theory. We apply the model to examine the effect of a change in fertility from the UN medium-variant to the UN low-variant projection, using Nigerian vital rates as a baseline. For a base case set of parameters, we find that such a change would raise output per capita by 5.6 percent at a horizon of 20 years, and by 11.9 percent at a horizon of 50 years.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17377.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
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Publication status: published as "The Effect of Fertility Reduction on Economic Growth" (with Quamrul H. Ashraf and David N. Weil); Population and Development Review, 2013. 39(1): 97-130.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17377
Note: EFG
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  1. Matthias Doepke & Moshe Hazan & Yishay Maoz, 2007. "The Baby Boom and World War II: A Macroeconomic Analysis," NBER Working Papers 13707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 1995. "Population Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262181606, June.
  3. Kyung-Mook Lim & David N. Weil, 2003. "The Baby Boom and the Stock Market Boom," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 105(3), pages 359-378, 09.
  4. Mikhail Golosov & Larry E. Jones & Michele Tertilt, 2004. "Efficiency with Endogenous Population Growth," NBER Working Papers 10231, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Francesco Caselli & James Feyrer, 2005. "The Marginal Product of Capital," NBER Working Papers 11551, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Richard Rogerson & Douglas Gollin, 2009. "The Greatest of All Improvements: Roads, Agriculture, and Economic Development in Africa," 2009 Meeting Papers 759, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. David N. Weil & Joshua Wilde, 2009. "How Relevant Is Malthus for Economic Development Today?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 255-60, May.
  8. Quamrul H. Ashraf & Ashley Lester & David N. Weil, 2009. "When Does Improving Health Raise GDP?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23, pages 157-204 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Günther Fink & Jocelyn E. Finlay, 2007. "Fertility, Female Labor Force Participation, and the Demographic Dividend," NBER Working Papers 13583, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. William D. Nordhaus & James Tobin, 1972. "Economic Research: Retrospect and Prospect, Volume 5, Economic Growth," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number nord72-1, December.
  11. World Bank, 2005. "Where is the Wealth of Nations? Measuring Capital for the 21st Century," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7505.
  12. Ronald D Lee & Andrew Mason & Tim Miller, 1998. "Saving, Wealth, and Population," Working Papers 199805, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
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