nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2020‒05‒11
two papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Virus Dynamics with Behavioral Responses By Krishna Dasaratha
  2. Testing unified growth theory: Technological progress and the child quantity-quality tradeoff By Madsen, Jakob Brøchner; Strulik, Holger

  1. By: Krishna Dasaratha
    Abstract: Motivated by epidemics such as COVID-19, we study the spread of a contagious disease when people change their behavior to respond to the disease prevalence. We extend the SIR epidemiological model to include endogenous meeting rates. Individuals benefit from economic activity, but higher activity also leads to more interactions with potentially infected individuals. The main focus is a theoretical analysis of the contagion dynamics. In the leading case, the infection prevalence is single-peaked. We obtain a simple condition for when several types of public-health interventions or changes in disease prevalence will paradoxically increase infection rates due to risk compensation. This condition implies that public-health interventions are most likely to be undermined by increased economic activity near the peak of severe diseases.
    Date: 2020–04
  2. By: Madsen, Jakob Brøchner; Strulik, Holger
    Abstract: A core mechanism of unified growth theory is that accelerating technologicalprogress induces mass education and, in interaction with child quantity-quality substitution, a decline in fertility. Using unique new data for 21 OECD countries over theperiod 1750-2000, we test, for the first time, the validity of this core mechanism of unified growth theory. We measure a country's technological progress as patents per capita, genetic-distance weighted foreign patents, and investment in machinery, equipment and intellectual property products. Controlling for other confounders like income, mortality, thegender wage gap, indicators for child labor, compulsory schooling, and time- and country-fixed effects, we establish a strong positive impact of technological progress on investmentsin education and a strongly negative one on fertility. Using two-stage regressions, we assess the child quantity-quality substitution that can be motivated by technological change. We estimate that a 10 percent increase of enrollment in primary and secondary school isassociated with a decline of the general fertility rate by 3 to 4 percent.
    Keywords: technological progress,fertility,education,quantity-quality trade-off,unifiedgrowth theory
    JEL: O40 O30 N30 J10 I25
    Date: 2020

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