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It's A Sin - Contraceptive Use, Religious Beliefs, and Long-Run Economic Development

Klaus Prettner () and Holger Strulik ()

No 11/2014, Discussion Papers of Business and Economics from University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics

Abstract: This study presents a novel theory on the interaction of social norms, fertility, education, and their joint impact on long-run economic development. The theory takes into account that sexual intercourse is utility enhancing and that the use of modern contraceptives potentially conflicts with prevailing social norms (religious beliefs). The theory motivates the existence of two steady states. At the traditional steady state, the economy stagnates, fertility is high, education is minimal, and the population sustains a norm according to which modern contraceptives are not used. At the modern steady state, the population has abandoned traditional beliefs, modern contraceptives are used, fertility is low and education and economic growth are high. Social dynamics explain why both equilibria are separated by a saddlepoint-equilibrium (a separatrix), i.e. why it is so hard to transit from the traditional regime to the modern regime. Enhancing the value of education is identified as a promising policy to encourage contraceptive use and to initiate the take-off to long-run growth.

Keywords: Religion; fertility; sex; contraceptive use; education; economic growth (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I25 J10 O40 Z12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-gro, nep-his, nep-hpe and nep-soc
Date: 2014-07-07
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Journal Article: It's a Sin—Contraceptive Use, Religious Beliefs, and Long-run Economic Development (2017) Downloads
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