IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/pra/mprapa/53129.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Contraception and the Fertility Transition

Author

Listed:
  • Bhattacharya, Joydeep
  • Chakraborty, Shankha

Abstract

Three profound changes - the mortality, fertility and contraception transitions - characterized the Victorian era in England. Economists, following Becker (1960), focus on the first two and underplay the third by assuming couples can achieve their fertility target at no cost. The historical experience from Victorian England is at odds with this view of costless fertility regulation. We incorporate costly fertility limitation into the Becker paradigm: in our story, the mortality transition spurs on a contraception revolution which, in turn, makes it possible for the fertility transition to arrive. In the model, generationally-linked households with heterogeneous income choose between two contraception strategies, one ``traditional'', the other ``modern''. The modern comes with a higher fixed cost (reflecting social opposition and informational barriers characteristic of the times), but has a lower variable cost when it comes to averting childbirths. While the initial adopters of the modern technology are the rich -- those unfazed by the higher fixed cost -- eventually everyone switches so as to economize on the variable cost. What hastens the switch is the decline in child mortality. Increased adoption of modern contraception unleashes a social diffusion process causing more people to switch, lowering fertility further and across all socioeconomic groups. The model is consistent with broad time-series and cross-sectional patterns of the English fertility transition.

Suggested Citation

  • Bhattacharya, Joydeep & Chakraborty, Shankha, 2014. "Contraception and the Fertility Transition," MPRA Paper 53129, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:53129
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/53129/1/MPRA_paper_53129.pdf
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kohler, Hans-Peter, 2001. "Fertility and Social Interaction: An Economic Perspective," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199244591.
    2. Pritchett, Lant H. & DEC, 1994. "Desired fertility and the impact of population policies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1273, The World Bank.
    3. Matthias Doepke, 2004. "Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 347-383, September.
    4. Oded Galor, 2012. "The demographic transition: causes and consequences," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 6(1), pages 1-28, January.
    5. Bhattacharya, Joydeep & Chakraborty, Shankha, 2012. "Fertility choice under child mortality and social norms," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(3), pages 338-341.
    6. Larry E. Jones & Alice Schoonbroodt & Michèle Tertilt, 2010. "Fertility Theories: Can They Explain the Negative Fertility-Income Relationship?," NBER Chapters, in: Demography and the Economy, pages 43-100, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Canning, David & Günther, Isabel & Linnemayr, Sebastian & Bloom, David, 2013. "Fertility choice, mortality expectations, and interdependent preferences—An empirical analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 273-289.
    8. Munshi, Kaivan & Myaux, Jacques, 2006. "Social norms and the fertility transition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 1-38, June.
    9. Galor, Oded, 2005. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 171-293, Elsevier.
    10. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
    11. Lindert,Peter H., 2009. "Growing Public," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521529174.
    12. Martha J. Bailey, 2012. "Reexamining the Impact of Family Planning Programs on US Fertility: Evidence from the War on Poverty and the Early Years of Title X," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 62-97, April.
    13. Timothy Guinnane & Barbara Okun & James Trussell, 1994. "What do we know about the timing of fertility transitions in europe?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 31(1), pages 1-20, February.
    14. Robert T. Michael & Robert J. Willis, 1976. "Contraception and Fertility: Household Production under Uncertainty," NBER Chapters, in: Household Production and Consumption, pages 25-98, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. 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, August.
    16. Palivos, Theodore, 2001. "Social norms, fertility and economic development," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 25(12), pages 1919-1934, December.
    17. Long, Jason, 2006. "The Socioeconomic Return to Primary Schooling in Victorian England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(4), pages 1026-1053, December.
    18. 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.
    19. John C. Caldwell, 1999. "The Delayed Western Fertility Decline: An Examination of English‐Speaking Countries," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 25(3), pages 479-513, September.
    20. David de la Croix & Matthias Doepke, 2003. "Inequality and Growth: Why Differential Fertility Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1091-1113, September.
    21. David Lam, 2011. "How the World Survived the Population Bomb: Lessons From 50 Years of Extraordinary Demographic History," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(4), pages 1231-1262, November.
    22. 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.
    23. Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, 2008. "The uncertain lifetime and the timing of human capital investment," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(3), pages 557-572, July.
    24. Michael Bar & Oksana Leukhina, 2010. "Demographic Transition and Industrial Revolution: A Macroeconomic Investigation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(2), pages 424-451, April.
    25. Gregory Clark, 2005. "Human Capital, Fertility, and the Industrial Revolution," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 505-515, 04/05.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Holger Strulik, 2017. "Contraception And Development: A Unified Growth Theory," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 58, pages 561-584, May.
    2. David E. Bloom & Michael Kuhn & Klaus Prettner, 2016. "Africa’s Prospects for Enjoying a Demographic Dividend," VID Working Papers 1604, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna.
    3. David E. BLOOM & Michael KUHN & Klaus PRETTNER, 2017. "Africa’s Prospects for Enjoying a Demographic Dividend," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 83(1), pages 63-76, March.
    4. Aksan, Anna-Maria & Chakraborty, Shankha, 2014. "Mortality versus morbidity in the demographic transition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 470-492.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Marla Ripoll & Juan Carlos Cordoba, 2011. "A Contribution to the Economic Theory of Fertility," 2011 Meeting Papers 1207, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2017. "Family Economics Writ Large," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1346-1434, December.
    3. Holger Strulik, 2017. "Contraception And Development: A Unified Growth Theory," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 58, pages 561-584, May.
    4. William Lord & Peter Rangazas, 2006. "Fertility and development: the roles of schooling and family production," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 229-261, September.
    5. Ratbek Dzhumashev & Ainura Tursunalieva, 2016. ""Keeping up with the Joneses" and fertility choice," Monash Economics Working Papers 30-16, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    6. Myong, Sunha & Park, JungJae & Yi, Junjian, 2018. "Social Norms and Fertility," IZA Discussion Papers 11744, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Larry E. Jones & Alice Schoonbroodt & Michèle Tertilt, 2010. "Fertility Theories: Can They Explain the Negative Fertility-Income Relationship?," NBER Chapters, in: Demography and the Economy, pages 43-100, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. repec:pri:rpdevs:vogl_family_size is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Cervellati, Matteo & Sunde, Uwe, 2007. "Human Capital, Mortality and Fertility: A Unified Theory of the Economic and Demographic Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers 6384, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Cordoba, Juan Carlos & Ripoll, Marla, 2012. "Barro-Becker with Credit Frictions," Staff General Research Papers Archive 35531, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    11. Dilip Mookherjee & Silvia Prina & Debraj Ray, 2012. "A Theory of Occupational Choice with Endogenous Fertility," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 1-34, November.
    12. Dierk Herzer & Holger Strulik & Sebastian Vollmer, 2012. "The long-run determinants of fertility: one century of demographic change 1900–1999," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 357-385, December.
    13. Bhattacharya, Joydeep & Chakraborty, Shankha, 2012. "Fertility choice under child mortality and social norms," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(3), pages 338-341.
    14. Guillaume Daudin & Raphaël Franck & Hillel Rapoport, 2016. "The cultural diffusion of the fertility transition: evidence from internal migration in 19 th century France," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-01321952, HAL.
    15. Strulik, Holger, 2019. "Desire And Development," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(7), pages 2717-2747, October.
    16. Klaus Prettner & Holger Strulik, 2017. "It's a Sin—Contraceptive Use, Religious Beliefs, and Long-run Economic Development," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(3), pages 543-566, August.
    17. Matteo Cervellati & Uwe Sunde, 2015. "The Economic and Demographic Transition, Mortality, and Comparative Development," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 189-225, July.
    18. Francesco C. Billari & Vincenzo Galasso, 2008. "What Explains Fertility? Evidence from Italian Pension Reforms," CSEF Working Papers 209, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    19. Casper Worm Hansen & Peter Sandholt Jensen & Lars Lønstrup, 2014. "The Fertility Transition in the US: Schooling or Income?," Economics Working Papers 2014-02, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    20. Kai(Jackie) Zhao, 2009. "War Debt and the Baby Boom," 2009 Meeting Papers 856, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    21. Carolyn Chisadza & Manoel Bittencourt, 2015. "Education and Fertility: Panel Evidence from sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 201526, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    child mortality; fertility; demographic transition; contraception;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:53129. 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: (Joachim Winter). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/vfmunde.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.