Income-Distribution Dynamics with Endogenous Fertility

62 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2000 Last revised: 15 Oct 2010

See all articles by Michael Kremer

Michael Kremer

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Center for Global Development; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Daniel L. Chen

Directeur de Recherche, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Toulouse School of Economics, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, University of Toulouse Capitole, Toulouse, France

Date Written: February 2000

Abstract

Developing countries with highly unequal income distributions, such as Brazil or South Africa, face an uphill battle in reducing inequality. Educated workers in these countries have a much lower birthrate than uneducated workers. Assuming children of educated workers are more likely to become educated, this tends to increase the proportion of unskilled workers, reducing their wages, and thus their opportunity cost of having children, creating a vicious cycle. A model incorporating this effect generates multiple steady-state levels of inequality, suggesting that in some circumstances, temporarily increasing access to educational opportunities could permanently reduce inequality. Empirical evidence suggests that the fertility differential between the educated and uneducated is greater in less equal countries, consistent with the model.

Suggested Citation

Kremer, Michael R. and Chen, Daniel L., Income-Distribution Dynamics with Endogenous Fertility (February 2000). NBER Working Paper No. w7530. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=216011

Michael R. Kremer (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Center for Global Development

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Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

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Daniel L. Chen

Directeur de Recherche, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Toulouse School of Economics, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, University of Toulouse Capitole, Toulouse, France ( email )

Toulouse School of Economics
1, Esplanade de l'Université
Toulouse, 31080
France

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