Nota di Lavoro, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei 112.2003
This paper deals with some variables that are not generally included as economic or market variables in order to show how these affect the question of population growth, which is after all the core of resource allocation. It shows that population growth may also depend on better medical treatments, higher productivity, less local violence and the decline of customary restraints (i.e. social and family pressures), and not only on the evaluation of the benefits and losses of having more children in relation to limited property resources. On the other hand, as far as demographic transition is concerned, there is one essential factor that affects family size throughout the world. This is education. School has decreased mortality by the emphasis on personal and household hygiene. It has then decreased fertility by the increased costs of bringing up children in a school situation, i.e. demographic transition is set in progress without urbanization, industrialization and scarcely without modernization, except for the school itself. Education, as we know it, preceded industrialization and intrusive urbanization in Europe too. It was not until very late (1870) that attempts at introducing compulsory education were made, and it was mass schooling that made a marked difference. Widespread education may also accomplish the control on fertility, i.e. later marriage. Education promotes consumerism and when there is a large gap between achievement in the economic and educational domains, major difficulties arise. Despite earlier hopes the economy has not expanded pari passu with education. There is a gap between the literates and the number of jobs. This discrepancy has produced a floating population of the young who are a threat to political stability. The other outlet is migration overseas. For good or for bad the globalisation of education releases a potent force in the globalisation of the family.