Differential Fertility, Human Capital, and Development

Tom Vogl

NBER Working Paper No. 19128
Issued in June 2013
NBER Program(s):   CH   DEV   ED   EFG

Using micro-data from 48 developing countries, I document a recent reversal in the income-fertility relationship and its aggregate implications. Before 1960, children from larger families had richer parents and obtained more education. By century's end, both patterns had reversed. Consequently, income differentials in fertility historically raised average education but now reduce it. While the reversal is unrelated to changes in GDP, women's work, sectoral composition, or health, half is attributable to rising aggregate education in the parents' generation. The results support a model in which rising skill returns lowered the minimum income at which parents invest in education.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from ($5) for electronic delivery.

Information about Free Papers

You should expect a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.


This paper was revised on August 15, 2013

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19128

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Mitra and Ray w19090 Implications of an Economic Theory of Conflict: Hindu-Muslim Violence in India
Almond, Li, and Zhang w19153 Land Reform and Sex Selection in China
Karabarbounis and Neiman w19136 The Global Decline of the Labor Share
Fort, Haltiwanger, Jarmin, and Miranda w19134 How Firms Respond to Business Cycles: The Role of Firm Age and Firm Size
Olivetti w19131 The Female Labor Force and Long-run Development: The American Experience in Comparative Perspective
NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us