Jie Zhang

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


The thesis comprises three chapters which model fertility and economic growth simultaneously in overlapping generations frameworks.;Chapter 1 focuses on the relation between fertility and wage rates and examines the effects on fertility and growth of subsidies for education and for the cost of rearing children by assuming that agents care about the consumption and number of children. Without education, this model reconciles two conflicting results about the relationship between fertility and wage rates: while Malthus and others predict a positive relation, Barro and Becker find a negative relation. With education, the positive relation between fertility and wage rates can no longer exist. An education subsidy may reduce or may increase fertility if bequests are operative and has no net effect on fertility otherwise, and is most likely to speed up growth of per capita income. Depressing growth, a child rearing subsidy cannot raise fertility unless bequests are operative.;Chapter 2 compares fertility and economic growth between economies with or without markets and firms by assuming that agents are concerned about the consumption of their old parents, and/or the consumption and the number of their children. It is shown that transforming a traditional economy into a market economy brings about lower fertility (as in the literature) but faster growth of per capita output if altruism is one-sided towards parents. Even if altruism is two-sided, this transformation reduces fertility. In this case, when gifts are operative it also speeds up growth unless tastes for the number of children are much stronger than those for the consumption of children. When bequests are operative, the two economies appear to have similar rates of economic growth. The results may help to explain why countries which were the first to establish market economies are richer and have lower fertility than countries where some people still live in a traditional way.;The effects of social security on fertility and economic growth are examined in Chapter 3. It is shown that an unfunded social security program may speed up economic growth by reducing fertility and increasing the ratio of human capital investment per child to family income even if saving rates fall, and may bring about faster economic growth than a funded one. Even if fertility is exogenous and private intergenerational transfers are operative, the neutrality of unfunded social security fails to hold due to human capital investment in children, although the saving rate is unchanged.



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