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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. 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. 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.
  3. Robert Tamura, 2002. "Human capital and economic development," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2002-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Galor, Oded & Weil, David, 1995. "The Gender Gap, Fertility and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1157, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Was an Industrial Revolution Inevitable? Economic Growth Over the Very Long Run," NBER Working Papers 7375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, 1988. "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(1), pages 1-25.
  9. Dahan, Momi & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1998. " Demographic Transition, Income Distribution, and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 29-52, March.
  10. 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.
  11. Miles S. Kimball, 1989. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," NBER Working Papers 2848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
  13. Blau Francine D & Kahn Lawrence M, 2007. "The Gender Pay Gap," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 4(4), pages 1-6, June.
  14. Simon Appleton & Francis Teal, 2002. "Working Paper 39 - Human Capital and Economic Development," Working Paper Series 173, African Development Bank.
  15. 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.
  16. Brezis, Elise S., 2001. "Social classes, demographic transition and economic growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 707-717, May.
  17. Gene M. Grossman (ed.), 0. "Economic Growth," Books, Edward Elgar, volume 0, number 553.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Robert J. Barro, 1996. "Determinants of Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Empirical Study," NBER Working Papers 5698, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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