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SECULAR FERTILITY DECLINES, BABY BOOMS, AND ECONOMIC GROWTH: INTERNATIONAL EVIDENCE

  • Robert Tamura (a1) and Curtis Simon (a1)
Abstract

We present a model capable of explaining 200 years of declining fertility, 200 years of rising educational achievement, and a significant baby boom for the United States and twenty other industrialized market countries. We highlight the importance of secularly declining young adult mortality risk for producing secularly declining fertility and a sudden decline in housing costs after the end of the Second World War, but ending by 1970. In addition, we introduce a new puzzle for the profession: Given the magnitude of the Baby Boom, roughly equal to fertility in 1900 for many of these countries, why did schooling of the Baby Boom cohorts not fall to the 1900 level of their predecessors? In fact, not only did it not fall, but the schooling levels of these cohorts are higher than for previous cohorts. Using a quantitative model, we are able to identify the magnitude of the reduction in costs of education necessary to explain this paradoxical increase in schooling. We produce a novel data set on historical education expenditures with over 1,500 observations. We find empirical support for these cost reductions.

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Corresponding author
Address correspondence to: Robert Tamura, Department of Economics, Sirrine Hall, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634; e-mail: rtamura@clemson.edu.
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Clemson University and Clemson University. Contact information for corresponding author: (864) 656-1242; e-mail: rtamura@clemson.edu. We thank the seminar participants at the Midwest Macroeconomics Meetings at Washington University, Florida State University, IUPUI and the Conference on Open Macroeconomics and Development in Aix en Provence for helpful comments and suggestions. We remain responsible for all remaining errors.

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Macroeconomic Dynamics
  • ISSN: 1365-1005
  • EISSN: 1469-8056
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