Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

War Finance and the Baby Boom

Contents:

Author Info

  • Kai Zhao

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

In this paper, I extend the Barro-Becker model of endogenous fertility to incorporate specific fiscal policies and use it to study the effects of the fiscal policy changes following WWII on fertility in the United States. The US government went through large changes in fiscal policy after the beginning of WWII. The marginal income tax rate for an average American jumped from 4% on average before 1940 to approximately 25% during the war and stayed around 20% afterwards. The government debt-GDP ratio jumped from approximately 30% on average before WWII to 108% in 1946 and then dropped gradually in the following two decades to about 30% again at the end of 1960s. I find that the dramatic increase in the marginal income tax rate was an important cause of the postwar baby boom in the US because it lowered the after-tax wage and thus the opportunity cost of child-rearing. I also find that the differential change in taxes by income was an important reason why the baby boom was more pronounced among richer households (as documented by Jones and Tertilt (2008)). Furthermore, I argue that the government's debt policy may also matter for understanding fertility choices because government debt implies a tax burden on children in the future and thus affects their utility, which is a key determinant of current fertility choice in the Barro-Becker model. The results of a computational experiment show that the US government's postwar debt policy also contributed to the baby boom, but its quantitative importance is relatively small. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.red.2013.09.003
Download Restriction: Access to full texts is restricted to ScienceDirect subscribers and institutional members. See http://www.sciencedirect.com/ for details.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 17 (2014)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 459-473

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:red:issued:11-180

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Review of Economic Dynamics Academic Press Editorial Office 525 "B" Street, Suite 1900 San Diego, CA 92101
Fax: 1-314-444-8731
Email:
Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/review.htm
More information through EDIRC

Order Information:
Email:
Web: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/RED17.htm

Related research

Keywords: Fertility; Baby boom; Government debt; WWII;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2005. "The Baby Boom and Baby Bust," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 183-207, March.
  2. David DE LA CROIX & Matthias DOEPKE, 2002. "Public versus Private Education When Diferential Fertility Matters," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2002013, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  3. Larry E. Jones & Alice Schoonbroodt, 2010. "Complements Versus Substitutes And Trends In Fertility Choice In Dynastic Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(3), pages 671-699, 08.
  4. Conesa, Juan Carlos & Kitao, Sagiri & Krüger, Dirk, 2006. "Taxing Capital? Not a Bad Idea After All!," CEPR Discussion Papers 5929, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Becker, Gary S & Barro, Robert J, 1988. "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(1), pages 1-25, February.
  6. DE LA CROIX, David & DOEPKE, Matthias, 2001. "Inequality and Growth : Why Differential Fertility Matters," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2001008, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  7. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
  8. Robert J. Barro & Gary S. Becker, . "Fertility Choice in a Model of Economic Growth," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 88-8, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  9. Friesen, Peter H & Miller, Danny, 1983. "Annual Inequality and Lifetime Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(1), pages 139-55, February.
  10. Matthias Doepke & Moshe Hazan & Yishay D. Maoz, 2008. "The Baby Boom and World War II: A Macroeconomic Analysis," IEW - Working Papers 355, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  11. Gouveia, Miguel & Strauss, Robert P., 1994. "Effective Federal Individual Tax Functions: An Exploratory Empirical Analysis," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(2), pages 317-39, June.
  12. Kai Zhao, 2009. "Social Security, Differential Fertility, and the Dynamics of the Earnings Distribution," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20091, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  13. Zimmerman, David J, 1992. "Regression toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 409-29, June.
  14. Matthias Doepke, 2002. "Child Mortality and Fertility Decline: Does the Barro-Becker Model Fit the Facts?," UCLA Economics Working Papers 824, UCLA Department of Economics.
  15. Larry E. Jones & Alice Schoonbroodt, 2010. "Baby Busts and Baby Booms: The Fertility Response to Shocks in Dynastic Models," NBER Working Papers 16596, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8973.
  17. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:issued:11-180. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christian Zimmermann).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.