Public Choice

, Volume 155, Issue 3–4, pp 493–505 | Cite as

The political economy of fertility

  • Thorsten Janus


This paper studies the political economy of fertility. Specifically, I argue that fertility may be a strategic choice for ethnic groups engaged in redistributive conflict. I first present a simple conflict model where high fertility is optimal for each ethnic group if and only if the economy’s ethnic diversity is high, institutions are weak, or both. I then test the model in a cross-national dataset. Consistent with the theory, I find that economies where the product of ethnic diversity and a measure of institutional weakness is high have increased fertility rates. I conclude that fertility may depend on political factors.


Population Fertility Ethnic diversity Social conflict Social norms 

JEL Classification

D72 D74 J13 O12 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. 3985University of WyomingLaramieUSA

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