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Was the post-1870 fertility transition a key contributor to growth in the West in the twentieth century?

Jakob Madsen (), Md. Rabiul Islam and Xueli Tang ()
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Md. Rabiul Islam: Monash University

Journal of Economic Growth, 2020, vol. 25, issue 4, No 2, 454 pages

Abstract: Abstract The fertility transition that took place in the West from approximately the 1870s to the 1970s is often suggested to have been instrumental for the shift from the post-Malthusian growth regime to the modern growth regime. Constructing a unique data set over the period 1820–2015 for 21 advanced countries, this paper tests whether fertility has had real economic effects through the channels of education, saving, investment and female labor force participation rates. The dairy-cereal price ratio and the pastoral-land ratio are used as instruments for fertility. The results indicate that the fertility transition has been a significant contributor to growth since the 1880s and, consequently, was pivotal for the transition to the modern growth regime.

Keywords: The great fertility transition; Growth and fertility; Transmission channels (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J1 O4 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s10887-020-09183-6

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