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Did Improvements in Household Technology Cause the Baby Boom? Evidence from Electrification, Appliance Diffusion, and the Amish

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  • Martha J. Bailey
  • William J. Collins

Abstract

We examine the hypothesis that advances in household technology caused the US baby boom, and we find no support for this claim. Advances in household technology occurred before the baby boom, while fertility declined. From 1940 to 1960, levels/changes in county-level appliance ownership and electrification negatively predict levels/changes in fertility rates. Exposure to electricity in early adulthood and children-ever-born are negatively correlated for the relevant cohorts. The Amish, who used modern technologies much less than other US households, experienced a coincident baby boom. This evidence can be reconciled with economic theory if other home-produced goods are substitutes with children. (JEL D12, J13, N32, N92, O33)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 189-217

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:3:y:2011:i:2:p:189-217

Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.3.2.189
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Taryn Dinkelman, 2011. "The Effects of Rural Electrification on Employment: New Evidence from South Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3078-3108, December.
  2. Curtis Simon & Robert Tamura, 2010. "Secular Fertility Declines, Baby Booms and Economic Growth: International Evidence," 2010 Meeting Papers, Society for Economic Dynamics 1041, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. repec:hka:wpaper:2013-03 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Albanesi, Stefania & Olivetti, Claudia, 2010. "Maternal Health and the Baby Boom," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 7925, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Tamura, Robert & Simon, Curtis & Murphy, Kevin M., 2012. "Black and White Fertility, Differential Baby Booms: The Value of Civil Rights," MPRA Paper 40921, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Grimm, Michael & Sparrow, Robert & Tasciotti, Luca, 2014. "Does Electrification Spur the Fertility Transition? Evidence from Indonesia," IZA Discussion Papers 8146, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Rosamaría Dasso & Fernando Fernandez, 2013. "The Effects of Electrification on Employment in Rural Peru," CEDLAS, Working Papers, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata 0150, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  8. Kohlin, Gunnar & Sills, Erin O. & Pattanayak, Subhrendu K. & Wilfong, Christopher, 2011. "Energy, gender and development: what are the linkages ? where is the evidence ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5800, The World Bank.

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