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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 August 2012

Holger Strulik*
University of Göttingen
Jacob Weisdorf
University of Southern Denmark
Address correspondence to: Holger Strulik, Department of Economics, University of Göttingen, Platz der Göttinger Sieben 3, 37073 Göttingen, Germany; email:


This study provides a unified growth theory to correctly predict the initially negative and subsequently positive relationship between child mortality and net reproduction observed in industrialized countries over the course of their demographic transitions. The model captures the intricate interplay between technological progress, mortality, fertility, and economic growth in the transition from Malthusian stagnation to modern growth. It not only provides an explanation for the demographic observation that fertility rates response with a delay to lower child mortality, but also identifies a number of turning points over the course of development, suggesting a high degree of complexity in the relationships between various economic and demographic variables.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012 

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