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World population growth and fertility patterns, 1960-2000. A simple model explaining the evolution of world's fertility during the second half of the 20th Century

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Abstract

In this paper we attempt to describe the general reasons behind the world population explosion in the 20th century. The size of the population at the end of the century in question, deemed excessive by some, was a consequence of a dramatic improvement in life expectancies, attributable, in turn, to scientific innovation, the circulation of information and economic growth. Nevertheless, fertility is a variable that plays a crucial role in differences in demographic growth. We identify infant mortality, female education levels and racial identity as important exogenous variables affecting fertility. It is estimated that in poor countries one additional year’ of primary schooling for women leads to 0.614 child less per couple on average (worldwide). While it may be possible to identify a global tendency towards convergence in demographic trends, particular attention should be paid to the case of Africa, not only due to its different demographic patterns, but also because much of the continent's population has yet to experience improvement in quality of life generally enjoyed across the rest of the planet.

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  • Enriqueta Camps & Stanley Engerman, 2008. "World population growth and fertility patterns, 1960-2000. A simple model explaining the evolution of world's fertility during the second half of the 20th Century," Economics Working Papers 1107, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jun 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1107
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Moradi, Alexander & Baten, Joerg, 2005. "Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa: New Data and New Insights from Anthropometric Estimates," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1233-1265, August.
    3. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong-Wha, 1994. "Sources of economic growth," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-46, June.
    4. Galor, Oded & Weil, David N, 1996. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 374-387, June.
    5. Stanley L. Engerman & Kenneth Lee Sokoloff, 2002. "Factor Endowments, Inequality, and Paths of Development Among New World Economies," ECONOMIA JOURNAL, THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION - LACEA, vol. 0(Fall 2002), pages 41-110, August.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fertility; human capital; infant mortality; race; population growth;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy

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