The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth
NBER Working Paper No. 4550
This paper examines a novel mechanism linking fertility and growth. Household fertility is determined by relative wages of women and men. Increasing women's wages reduces fertility by raising the cost of children relatively more than household income. Lower fertility raises the level of capital per worker which in turn, since capital is more complementary to women's labor input than men's, raises women's relative wages. This positive feedback leads to the possibility of multiple steady-state equilibria. Countries with low initial capital may converge to a development trap with high fertility, low capital, and low relative wages for women.
Published: American Economic Review, June 1996, pp.374-387.