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Religions, Fertility, and Growth in South-East Asia

David de la Croix () and Clara Delavallade ()

No 12622, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: We investigate the extent to which religions' pronatalism is detrimental to growth via the fertility/education channel. Using censuses from South-East Asia, we first estimate an empirical model of fertility and show that having a religious affiliation significantly raises fertility, especially for couples with intermediate to high education levels. We next use these estimates to identify the parameters of a structural model of fertility choice. On average, Catholicism is the most pro-child religion (increasing total spending on children), followed by Buddhism, while Islam has a strong pro-birth component (redirecting spending from quality to quantity). We show that pro-child religions depress growth in the early stages of growth by lowering savings, physical capital, and labor supply. These effects account for 10% to 30% of the actual growth gaps between countries over 1950-1980. At later stages of growth, pro-birth religions lower human capital accumulation, explaining between 10% to 20% of the growth gap between Muslim and Buddhist countries over 1980-2010.

Keywords: Buddhism; Catholicism; education; indirect inference; Islam; Quality-Quantity Tradeoff (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J13 O11 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-gro and nep-sea
Date: 2018-01
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Related works:
Journal Article: RELIGIONS, FERTILITY, AND GROWTH IN SOUTHEAST ASIA (2018) Downloads
Working Paper: Religions, Fertility, and Growth in South-East Asia (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Religions, Fertility and Growth in South-East Asia (2015) Downloads
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