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The Economic Foundations of Demographic Transition

The paper develops a general equilibrium model where population sources, such as fertility and mortality rates, are chosen variables. It is shown that the evolution of population over time depends on income and relative prices of mortality and fertility rates. Initially as a country develops, countries should face a period with increasing fertility and higher population growth rates but later fertility and population growth rate should decrease as their relative prices increase. It is also shown that multiple equilibria may arise. An equilibrium with low levels of asset will have lower per capita income, but larger fertility, mortality and population growth rates.