The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Fertility in Developing Countries

  • T. Paul Schultz
Reference work entry


The associations between fertility and outcomes in the family and society have been treated as causal, but this is inaccurate if fertility is a choice coordinated by families with other life-cycle decisions, including labour supply of mothers and children, child human capital, and savings. Estimating how exogenous changes in fertility that are uncorrelated with preferences or constraints affect others depends on our specifying a valid instrumental variable for fertility. Twins have served as such an instrument and confirm that the cross-effects of fertility estimated on the basis of this instrument are smaller in absolute value than their associations.


Aging and retirement Birth control Capital accumulation Child care Child labour Child mortality Collective models of the household Comparative advantage Demographic transition Economic growth Family planning Fertility in developing countries Heckscher, E. F. Home production Human capital Life-cycle savings Malthus, T. R. Microcredit Mortality Overpopulation Poor Law Population growth Precautionary insurance Time use Value of time Women’s work and wages 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Paul Schultz
    • 1
  1. 1.