Religions, Fertility, and Growth in South-East Asia

80 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2018

See all articles by David de la Croix

David de la Croix

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES); Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE)

Clara Delavallade

World Bank

Date Written: January 2018

Abstract

We investigate the extent to which religions' pronatalism is detrimental to growth via the fertility/education channel. Using censuses from South-East Asia, we first estimate an empirical model of fertility and show that having a religious affiliation significantly raises fertility, especially for couples with intermediate to high education levels. We next use these estimates to identify the parameters of a structural model of fertility choice. On average, Catholicism is the most pro-child religion (increasing total spending on children), followed by Buddhism, while Islam has a strong pro-birth component (redirecting spending from quality to quantity). We show that pro-child religions depress growth in the early stages of growth by lowering savings, physical capital, and labor supply. These effects account for 10% to 30% of the actual growth gaps between countries over 1950-1980. At later stages of growth, pro-birth religions lower human capital accumulation, explaining between 10% to 20% of the growth gap between Muslim and Buddhist countries over 1980-2010.

Keywords: Buddhism, Catholicism, education, indirect inference, Islam, Quality-Quantity Tradeoff

JEL Classification: J13, O11, Z13

Suggested Citation

de la Croix, David and Delavallade, Clara, Religions, Fertility, and Growth in South-East Asia (January 2018). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12622. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3106826

David De la Croix (Contact Author)

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) ( email )

3, Place Montesquieu
Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348
Belgium
+32 10 47 3945 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.de-la-croix.be

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) ( email )

34 Voie du Roman Pays
B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, b-1348
Belgium

Clara Delavallade

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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