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From Malthus to Modern Growth: Child Labor, Schooling and Human Capital

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  • Vogel, Edgar

    (MEA, University of Mannheim)

Abstract

This paper develops a dynamic general equilibrium model of fertility, human capital accumulation, child labor and uncertain child survival focusing on the qualitative and quantitative effect of declining mortality on household decisions and economic development. Due to uncertainty about child survival, parents have a precautionary demand for children. Rising survival probability leads to falling fertility, eventually to investment into schooling and the demise of child labor. Child labor can be an obstacle to development since it lowers the incentives of parents to educate children. Furthermore, the paper argues that the decline of precautionary child demand as a consequence of falling mortality is not sufficient to generate a demographic transition. Falling mortality can only explain a relatively small part of the fertility decline. A sizable reduction in fertility can only be achieved by human capital investment and the induced quantity-quality trade off.

Suggested Citation

  • Vogel, Edgar, 2009. "From Malthus to Modern Growth: Child Labor, Schooling and Human Capital," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 08-42, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  • Handle: RePEc:xrs:sfbmaa:08-42
    Note: I thank Andreas Irmen, Wolfgang Kuhle, Alexander Ludwig, Steffen Reinhold and participants of the CDSE and MEA Seminar for helpful comments. Financial support by the State of Baden-Württemberg, the German Insurers Association (GDV) and the German Science Foundation (DFG, SFB 504) is gratefully acknowledged. Please send comments and questions to Vogel.Edgar@utanet.at.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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