Skill Composition, Fertility, and Economic Growth

15 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2015

See all articles by Creina Day

Creina Day

Australian National University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2015


While high fertility persists in the poorest countries and fertility declines with per capita income in developing countries, fertility and per capita income are now positively associated across most developed countries. This paper presents a model where a U‐shaped relationship between overall fertility and per capita income reflects within country differences in workforce skill composition and household choice of occupation, fertility, and childrearing. The fraction of skilled workers rises with economic growth. By allowing for both differences in the fertility of skilled and unskilled workers and purchased childrearing inputs, we explain a poverty trap with high fertility, fertility decline with economic development, and the possible reversal of fertility decline in a developed economy where most workers are skilled.

Keywords: 040, childrearing, economic growth, education, fertility

JEL Classification: J13, J24

Suggested Citation

Day, Creina, Skill Composition, Fertility, and Economic Growth (March 2015). Review of Income and Wealth, Vol. 61, Issue 1, pp. 164-178, 2015. Available at SSRN: or

Creina Day (Contact Author)

Australian National University ( email )

7 Liversidge Street
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, ACT 0200

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