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Development Microeconomics$
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Pranab Bardhan and Christopher Udry

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198773719

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198773714.001.0001

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(p.20) 3 Population
Development Microeconomics

Pranab Bardhan (Contributor Webpage)

Christopher Udry (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The conventional household model of family planning focuses on the trade‐offs that households face between the number of children, investment in the children, and consumption. While the model provides insights into the fertility behaviour of families, it is incomplete because it ignores the fact that preferences of men and women regarding the number and treatment of children may differ, and because it does not consider the social context. If preferences are socially influenced, then an externality involving strategic complementarities comes into play, and this may lead to multiple fertility equilibria. Another possibility of multiple equilibria, of special relevance to economic development, arises in models where fertility decisions, the demographic structure of the society, and relative prices are linked through child labour. Poor countries may thus remain in sub‐optimal equilibria, owing to coordination failure.

Keywords:   child labour, coordination failure, externalities, family planning, fertility, gender, household model, multiple equilibria, social context, strategic complementarities

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