What do women do? : World population growth and fertility patterns, 1960-2000
This is an exploratory paper that presents world across country data on health (and infant mortality) and fertility levels for the years 1960-2000. By means of econometrical analysis we obtain the result that the most significant variables shaping fertility levels are female human capital (across country measure of female years in school) and infant mortality. We also obtain the result that levels of per capital GDP are not statistically significant. We conclude that in these years the effects of globalization and the movement towards female emancipation on the spread of scientific knowledge had more effective consequences on the convergence towards low levels of fertility than levels of per capita GDP. It is estimated that between two and three additional years of schooling for women leads on average (at the world level) to one child less per couple. Even if we can identify a worldwide trend towards convergence in demographic trends, the African case needs to be given more attention.
Fertility, human capital, infant mortality, race, population growth
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