Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 49–66 | Cite as

Social aspirations and choice of fertility: why can status motive reduce per-capita growth?



To examine the relationship between social aspirations, fertility choices and growth performances, we develop a R&D-based model in which individuals care about the number of children they bring up and their social status. In such an economy, we find that stronger status motives have a negative effect on growth. The reason is that individuals bring up fewer children, as children are an obstacle to the achievement of their social status. Introducing an endogenous choice of quality for children, we show that stronger status motives lead individuals to bring up fewer but higher quality children. In this case, social aspirations heighten the desire of parents to substitute the quantity for the quality of children because education of children fosters society’s productive ability, indirectly improving parents’ social status.


Social aspirations Fertility Growth 


D31 O34 O41 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Economics, University of Chicago-UTCC Research CenterUniversity of the Thai Chamber of CommerceBangkokThailand

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