Demographic Transitions: analyzing the effects of mortality on fertility
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The effect of mortality reductions on fertility is one of the main mechanisms stressed by the recent growth literature in order to explain demographic transitions. We analyze the empirical relevance of this mechanism based on the experience of all countries since 1960. We distinguish between the effects on gross and net fertility, take into account the dynamic nature of the relationship and control for alternative explanatory factors and for endogeneity. Our results show that mortality plays a large role in fertility reductions, that the change in fertility behavior comes with a lag of about 10 years and that both net and gross fertility are affected. We find comparatively little support for explanations of the demographic transition based on economic development or technological change.