The long-run determinants of fertility: one century of demographic change 1900–1999

Abstract

We examine the long-run relationship between fertility, mortality, and income using panel cointegration techniques and the available data for the last century. Our main result is that mortality changes and growth of income contributed to the fertility transition. The fertility reduction triggered by falling mortality, however, is not enough to overcompensate the positive effect of falling mortality on population growth. This means that growth of income per capita is essential to explain the observed secular decline of population growth. These results are robust to alternative estimation methods, potential outliers, sample selection, different measures of mortality, the sample period, the inclusion of education as an explanatory variable, and the use of different data sets. In addition, our causality tests suggest that fertility changes are both cause and consequence of economic development.

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Acknowledgments

The authors’ would like to thank David Reher for sharing the data. The authors’ thank David Canning, Jesus Crespo Cuaresma, Carl-Johan Dalgaard, Michael Funke, six anonymous referees, and the editor, Oded Galor, for useful comments and suggestions.

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Herzer, D., Strulik, H. & Vollmer, S. The long-run determinants of fertility: one century of demographic change 1900–1999. J Econ Growth 17, 357–385 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10887-012-9085-6

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Keywords

  • Fertility
  • Mortality
  • Economic development
  • Panel cointegration

JEL Classification

  • J1
  • J13
  • C23