Fertility and Economic Development: Quantile Regression Evidence on the Inverse J-shaped Pattern

Eur J Popul. 2016 Jul 13;33(1):1-31. doi: 10.1007/s10680-016-9382-4. eCollection 2017 Feb.


This paper analyses empirically the relationship between economic development and fertility. Through a new sample selection and quantile regression, it investigates whether there is an inverse J-shaped pattern between these two variables, and, if so, whether it depends on development and fertility levels. Our results confirm that the inverse J-shaped pattern exists, but only when a certain level of economic development is attained. Results also suggest an innovative finding: the J-shape depends not only on the development but also on the fertility level. The higher the fertility rate, the higher the GDP per capita needed to reverse fertility decline, and the faster the negative and positive segments of the J-shape fall and grow.

Keywords: Economic development; Fertility rate; J-shaped pattern; Quantile regression.