Summary

Two schools of theorists have been concerned with the effect of economic development on fertility. One school has contended that economic development has an inhibiting effect on fertility. The demographic transition which has occurred among the non-developed countries confirms their viewpoint. Another school of thought, including in its members Thomas Malthus, has believed that economic development promoted fertility. Much empirical evidence may also be brought to bear to support this viewpoint.

The present paper attempts to reconcile these viewpoints. It is hypothesized that the direct effect of economic development is to increase fertility. However, various factors which usually accompany the process of economic development serve to reduce fertility. These include an increase in the level of education and a reduction in infant and childhood mortality. Making use of data for 41 nations pertaining to the decade of the 1950's, it is found that fertility is directly associated with per capita net national product when controls for other relevant variables are in8tituted. On the other hand, per capita newspaper circulation is inversely related to fertility, and infant mortality is directly related.

If the hypothesis advanced in this paper is correct, relatively large governmental expenditures on health and education will enhance the reduction in fertility obtainable from an increase in national economic level alone.

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Resumen

Dos eseuelas de teóricos han tratado los efectos del desarrollo económieo sobre la fecundidad. Una escuela ha eostenido que el desarrollo económico tiene un efecto inhibidor sobre la fecundidad. La transición demográfica que ha ocusrido entre los países no desarrollados confirma este punto de vista. La otra escuela de pensamienio, incluyendo entre sus miembrosa Thomas Malthus, ha creído que el desarrollo económico fomenta la fecundidad. Mucha de la evidencia empirica ha sostendido también este punto de vista.

El presente trabajo intenta reconciliar estos puntos de vista. Se plantea la hipótesis de que el efecto directo del desarrollo económico es aumentar la fecundidad. Sin embargo, varios factores que usualmente acompañan. el proceso de desarrollo economieo sirven para reducir la fecundidad. Estos incluyen un aumento en el nivel de educación y una reducción en la mortalidad infantil. Haciendo uso de los datos pertenecieniee a la década de 1950 de 41 naciones, se encontró que la fecundidad está directamente asociada con el producto nacional neto per capita, cuando eonirolee para otras variables relevantes son instituidos. Por otra parte la fecundidad estd inversamente relacionada con la circulación per capita de diarios y directamente con la mortalidad infantil.

Si la hipótesis anticipada en este trabajo es correcta, gastos gubernamentales relativamente grandes en salud y educación aerecentarían la reducción de la fecundidad en países eubdeearrollados mas allá que lo obtenible mediante un aumento en el nivel economico nacional.

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