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The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth

  • Oded Galor
  • David N. Weil

This paper examines a novel mechanism linking fertility and growth. Household fertility is determined by relative wages of women and men. Increasing women's wages reduces fertility by raising the cost of children relatively more than household income. Lower fertility raises the level of capital per worker which in turn, since capital is more complementary to women's labor input than men's, raises women's relative wages. This positive feedback leads to the possibility of multiple steady-state equilibria. Countries with low initial capital may converge to a development trap with high fertility, low capital, and low relative wages for women.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4550.

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Date of creation: Nov 1993
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as American Economic Review, June 1996, pp.374-387.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4550
Note: EFG
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  1. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, 1986. "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," NBER Working Papers 1793, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert Tamura, 1994. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 323-350 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Barro, R.J., 1989. "Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries," RCER Working Papers 201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  4. Becker, Gary S, 1985. "Human Capital, Effort, and the Sexual Division of Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages S33-58, January.
  5. Birdsall, Nancy, 1988. "Economic approaches to population growth," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 477-542 Elsevier.
  6. Galor, Oded & Ryder, Harl E., 1989. "Existence, uniqueness, and stability of equilibrium in an overlapping-generations model with productive capital," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 360-375, December.
  7. Mankiw, N Gregory & Romer, David & Weil, David N, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-37, May.
  8. Heckman, James J & Walker, James R, 1990. "The Relationship between Wages and Income and the Timing and Spacing of Births: Evidence from Swedish Longitudinal Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1411-41, November.
  9. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence Kahn, 1995. "The Gender Earnings Gap: Some International Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: Differences and Changes in Wage Structures, pages 105-144 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Gary S. Becker, 1960. "An Economic Analysis of Fertility," NBER Chapters, in: Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries, pages 209-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Zvi Griliches, 1970. "Notes on the Role of Education in Production Functions and Growth Accounting," NBER Chapters, in: Education, Income, and Human Capital, pages 71-128 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Jacob Mincer, 1991. "Human Capital, Technology, and the Wage Structure: What Do Time Series Show?," NBER Working Papers 3581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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