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A Stochastic Model of Mortality, Fertility, and Human Capital Investment

  • Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan

    (The University of Houston)

This paper examines the relationship between fertility and human capital investment, and it’s implications for economic growth, focusing on the e ects of declining mortality. Unlike the existing literature, this paper stresses the role of uncertainty about the number of surviving children. If the marginal utility of a surviving child is convex then there will be a precautionary demand for children. As the mortality rate and thus uncertainty falls, this demand decreases. Furthermore, lower mortality encourages educational investment in children. The key result is that this empirically observed quality-quantity trade o is realized only if uncertainty is incorporated into individual’s optimization problem.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 0212009.

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Date of creation: 17 Dec 2002
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0212009
Note: Type of Document - Tex; prepared on IBM PC ; to print on HP;
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  1. Blau Francine D & Kahn Lawrence M, 2007. "The Gender Pay Gap," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 4(4), pages 1-6, June.
  2. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert Tamura, . "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 90-5a, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  3. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 1999. "From Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 150-154, May.
  4. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, . "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 85-11, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  5. Ben-Porath, Yoram, 1976. "Fertility Response to Child Mortality: Micro Data from Israel," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S163-78, August.
  6. Galor, Oded & Weil, David, 1995. "The Gender Gap, Fertility and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1157, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Robert J. Barro, 1996. "Determinants of Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Empirical Study," NBER Working Papers 5698, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Charles I. Jones, . "Was an Industrial Revolution Inevitable? Economic Growth Over the Very Long Run," Working Papers 99008, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  9. Kalemli-Ozcan, Sebnem & Ryder, Harl E. & Weil, David N., 2000. "Mortality decline, human capital investment, and economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 1-23, June.
  10. Tamura, Robert, 2006. "Human capital and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 26-72, February.
  11. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
  12. Ram, Rati & Schultz, Theodore W, 1979. "Life Span, Health, Savings, and Productivity," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 399-421, April.
  13. Simon Appleton & Francis Teal, 2002. "Working Paper 39 - Human Capital and Economic Development," Working Paper Series 173, African Development Bank.
  14. Sah, Raaj Kumar, 1991. "The Effects of Child Mortality Changes on Fertility Choice and Parental Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 582-606, June.
  15. Brezis, Elise S., 2001. "Social classes, demographic transition and economic growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 707-717, May.
  16. O'Hara, Donald J, 1975. "Microeconomic Aspects of the Demographic Transition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1203-16, December.
  17. Dahan, Momi & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1998. "Demographic Transition, Income Distribution, and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 29-52, March.
  18. Gene M. Grossman (ed.), 1996. "Economic Growth," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, volume 0, number 553.
  19. Becker, Gary S, 1981. "Altruism in the Family and Selfishness in the Market Place," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 48(189), pages 1-15, February.
  20. 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.
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