Does Mortality Decline Promote Economic Growth?

Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Journal of Economic Growth 7(4), 411-439, December .


This paper analyzes qualitatively and quantitatively the effects of declining mortality rates on fertility, education and economic growth. The analysis demonstrates that if individuals are prudent in the face of uncertainty about child survival, a decline in an exogenous mortality rate reduces precautionary demand for children and increases parental investment in each child. Once mortality is endogenized, population growth becomes a hump-shaped function of income per capita. At low levels of income population growth rises as income per capita rises leading to a Malthusian steady-state equilibrium, whereas at high levels of income population growth declines leading to a sustained growth steadystate equilibrium.

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