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Banking on fewer children: Financial intermediation, fertility and economic development

Abstract.

This paper shows that financial intermediation can influence fertility and labor allocation decisions by raising market wages. The increase in wages induces some households to abandon “traditional” labor intensive methods of production managed at the household level and supply labor to “modern” sector firms. Since it is optimal for households in the modern sector to have fewer children, the labor allocation decision leads to lower national fertility. A panel VAR using financial intermediation, fertility and industrial employment share data in 87 countries is estimated. The empirical results show that the data are consistent with the theoretical predictions.

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Received: 20 October 1997/Accepted: 31 August 1998

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Scotese Lehr, C. Banking on fewer children: Financial intermediation, fertility and economic development. J Popul Econ 12, 567–590 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1007/s001480050114

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  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s001480050114

  • JEL classification: E44
  • J13
  • O16
  • Key words: Financial intermediation
  • fertility
  • economic development