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Religions, Fertility, and Growth in South-East Asia

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  • Clara Delavallade

    (IFPRI)

  • David de la Croix

    (Université catholique Louvain)

Abstract

We investigate the extent to which religions' pronatalism is detrimental to growth via the fertility/education channel. Using censuses from South-East Asia, we first estimate an empirical model of fertility and show that having a religious affiliation significantly raises fertility, especially for couples with intermediate to high education levels. We next use these estimates to identify the parameters of a structural model of fertility choice. On average, catholicism is the most pro-child religion (increasing total spending on children), followed by Buddhism, while Islam has a strong pro-birth component (redirecting spending from quality to quantity). We show that pro-child religions depress growth in the early stages of growth by lowering savings, physical capital, and labor supply. These effects account for 10\% to 30\% of the actual growth gaps between countries over 1950-1980. At later stages of growth, pro-birth religions lower human capital accumulation, explaining between 10\% to 20\% of the growth gap between Muslim and Buddhist countries over 1980-2010.

Suggested Citation

  • Clara Delavallade & David de la Croix, 2016. "Religions, Fertility, and Growth in South-East Asia," 2016 Meeting Papers 45, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed016:45
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    Cited by:

    1. de la Croix, David & Perrin, Faustine, 2018. "How far can economic incentives explain the French fertility and education transition?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 221-245.
    2. Zainab Iftikhar, 2018. "The effect of norms on fertility and its implications for the quantity-quality trade-off in Pakistan," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2018014, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    3. Chabé-Ferret, Bastien, 2019. "Adherence to cultural norms and economic incentives: Evidence from fertility timing decisions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 24-48.
    4. Sascha O. Becker & Markus Nagler & Ludger Woessmann, 2017. "Education and religious participation: city-level evidence from Germany’s secularization period 1890–1930," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 273-311, September.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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