Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth

UCLA Department of Economics Working Paper No. 804

42 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2001

See all articles by Matthias Doepke

Matthias Doepke

Northwestern University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: October 2003

Abstract

In every developed country, the economic transition from pre-industrial stagnation to modern growth was accompanied by a demographic transition from high to low fertility. Even though the overall pattern is repeated, there are large cross-country variations in the timing and speed of the demographic transition. What accounts for falling fertility during the transition to growth? To answer this question, this paper develops a unified growth model which delivers a transition from stagnation to growth, accompanied by declining fertility. The model is used to determine whether government policies that affect the opportunity cost of education can account for cross-country variations in fertility decline. Among the policies considered, education subsidies have only minor effects, while accounting for child-labor regulations is crucial. Apart from influencing fertility, the policies also have large effects on the evolution of the income distribution in the course of development.

Suggested Citation

Doepke, Matthias, Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth (October 2003). UCLA Department of Economics Working Paper No. 804, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=279519 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.279519

Matthias Doepke (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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