Mother Africa: The long run effects of income shocks on fertility

Mark Gradstein, Phoebe W. Ishak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We revisit the effect of long run income growth on population fertility in some of the poorest countries in the world. Causal inference is enabled through proxying income windfalls by oil price shocks in oil rich versus oil poor provinces. We find that long run income growth, following oil windfalls, significantly and robustly reduces fertility in oil producing provinces. To explain these results, we document that oil windfalls have translated to higher incomes in oil-producing provinces promoting parents to invest in the human capital of their children, in terms of acquiring more schooling and delaying girls’ age of marriage. Investing in women's education has persisted over the long-run causing a further delay in the age of first marriage and the giving of first birth.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)838-849
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2024


  • Economic development
  • Fertility
  • Income
  • Oil
  • Population

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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