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Fertility versus productivity: a model of growth with evolutionary equilibria

Foreman-Peck, James ORCID: and Zhou, Peng ORCID: 2020. Fertility versus productivity: a model of growth with evolutionary equilibria. Journal of Population Economics 34 , pp. 1073-1104. 10.1007/s00148-020-00813-2

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We develop a quantitative model that is consistent with three principal building blocks of Unified Growth Theory: the break-out from economic stagnation, the build-up to the Industrial Revolution, and the onset of the fertility transition. Our analysis suggests that England’s escape from the Malthusian trap was triggered by the demographic catastrophes in the aftermath of the Black Death; household investment in children ultimately raised wages despite an increasing population; and rising human capital, combined with the increasing elasticity of substitution between child quantity and quality, reduced target family size and contributed to the fertility transition.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Additional Information: A Correction to this article is available at This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISSN: 0933-1433
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 November 2020
Date of Acceptance: 30 November 2020
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 16:10

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