May 17, 2013

The political economy of fertility

Unconsciously I have had a preference for papers on fertility and gender, and that is because their conclusions are often counterintuitive and surprising, or simply interesting. Take this paper for example:

The abstract:
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.
A draft of the paper is here. It is published in Public Choice (June 2013) an it is by Thorsten Janus.

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