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Do women delay family formation in expensive housing markets?

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  • William A.V. Clark

    (University of California, Los Angeles)

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    Abstract

    Recent research by demographers and economists has examined the link between living costs and fertility outcomes. The literature has provided some evidence that high rents, or high housing costs, discourage fertility. A re-examination of that hypothesis with recent micro data from the US confirms some of the general observations about delayed fertility but the research in this paper suggests that the effect of expensive markets may be more to delay fertility than to lower fertility. The paper reiterates the powerful effects of education, ethnicity and labor market participation on fertility outcomes but it also extends those findings by showing that fertility outcomes have strong geographic contexts. The effect of being in an expensive housing market delays first births by three to four years. At the same time the relatively modest fit of individual models suggest that while the housing market may play a role it is also clear that there is a complex structure to the decision making around fertility, labor force participation and housing market entry.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its journal Demographic Research.

    Volume (Year): 27 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 1 (July)
    Pages: 1-24

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    Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:27:y:2012:i:1

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    Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

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    Keywords: education; fertility; housing markets;

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    1. Borsch-Supan, Axel, 1986. "Household formation, housing prices, and public policy impacts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 145-164, July.
    2. Fortin, Nicole M, 1995. "Allocation Inflexibilities, Female Labor Supply, and Housing Assets Accumulation: Are Women Working to Pay the Mortgage?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(3), pages 524-57, July.
    3. Haurin, Donald R & Hendershott, Patric H & Kim, Dongwook, 1993. "The Impact of Real Rents and Wages on Household Formation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 284-93, May.
    4. Simon, Curtis & Tamura, Robert, 2008. "Do higher rents discourage fertility? evidence from U.S. cities, 1940-2000," MPRA Paper 7721, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Francesca Michielin & Clara H Mulder, 2008. "Family events and the residential mobility of couples," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 40(11), pages 2770-2790, November.
    6. Hill Kulu & Andres Vikat, 2007. "Fertility differences by housing type: an effect of housing conditions or of selective moves?," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2007-014, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    7. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 1999. "Power Couples: Changes in the Locational Choice of the College Educated, 1940-1990," NBER Working Papers 7109, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Ermisch, John, 1999. "Prices, Parents, and Young People's Household Formation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 47-71, January.
    9. Sato, Yasuhiro, 2007. "Economic geography, fertility and migration," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 372-387, March.
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