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Are Children “Normal”?

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Author Info

  • Dan A. Black

    (University of Chicago, IZA, and NORC)

  • Natalia Kolesnikova

    (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and nowat the University of Mississippi)

  • Seth G. Sanders

    (Duke University)

  • Lowell J. Taylor

    (Carnegie Mellon University and NORC)

Abstract

We examine Becker's (1960) contention that children are “normal.” For the cross-section of non-Hispanic white married couples in the United States, we show that when we restrict comparisons to similarly educated women living in similarly expensive locations, completed fertility is positively correlated with the husband's income. The empirical evidence is consistent with children being “normal.” In an effort to show causal effects, we analyze the localized impact on fertility of the mid-1970s' increase in world energy prices, an exogenous shock that substantially increased men's incomes in the Appalachian coal-mining region. Empirical evidence for that population indicates that fertility increases with men's income. © 2013 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 95 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 21-33

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:95:y:2013:i:1:p:21-33

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Related research

Keywords: economics of fertility; location choice; Appalachian fertility;

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References

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  1. Schultz, T Paul, 1985. "Changing World Prices, Women's Wages, and the Fertility Transition: Sweden, 1860-1910," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1126-54, December.
  2. Heckman, James J & Walker, James R, 1990. "The Relationship between Wages and Income and the Timing and Spacing of Births: Evidence from Swedish Longitudinal Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1411-41, November.
  3. V. Joseph Hotz & Robert A. Miller, . "An Empirical Analysis of Life Cycle Fertility and Female Labor Supply," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 86-15, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  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. Dan Black & Terra McKinnish & Seth Sanders, 2005. "The Economic Impact Of The Coal Boom And Bust," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(503), pages 449-476, 04.
  6. Lalive, Rafael & Zweimüller, Josef, 2005. "Does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return-to-Work? Evidence from a "True Natural Experiment"," IZA Discussion Papers 1613, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S279-88, Part II, .
  8. Angrist, Joshua D & Evans, William N, 1998. "Children and Their Parents' Labor Supply: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Family Size," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 450-77, June.
  9. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-78, December.
  10. Dan Black & Kermit Daniel & Seth Sanders, 2002. "The Impact of Economic Conditions on Participation in Disability Programs: Evidence from the Coal Boom and Bust," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 27-50, March.
  11. Black, Dan & Gates, Gary & Sanders, Seth & Taylor, Lowell, 2002. "Why Do Gay Men Live in San Francisco?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 54-76, January.
  12. Mary Borg, 1989. "The Income-Fertility Relationship: Effect of the Net Price of a Child," Demography, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 301-310, May.
  13. Willis, Robert J, 1973. "A New Approach to the Economic Theory of Fertility Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S14-64, Part II, .
  14. Black, Dan & Sanders, Seth & Taylor, Lowell, 2003. "Measurement of Higher Education in the Census and Current Population Survey," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 98, pages 545-554, January.
  15. Larry E. Jones & Michele Tertilt, 2006. "An Economic History of Fertility in the U.S.: 1826-1960," NBER Working Papers 12796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Thomas A. Garrett & Natalia Kolesnikova, 2010. "Local price variation and the tax incidence of state lotteries," Working Papers 2010-035, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  2. Dettling, Lisa J. & Kearney, Melissa S., 2014. "House prices and birth rates: The impact of the real estate market on the decision to have a baby," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 82-100.
  3. Huttunen, Kristiina & Kellokumpu, Jenni, 2012. "The effect of job displacement on couples' fertility decisions," MPRA Paper 36964, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Lisa J. Dettling & Melissa Schettini Kearney, 2011. "House Prices and Birth Rates: The Impact of the Real Estate Market on the Decision to Have a Baby," NBER Working Papers 17485, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Brückner, Markus & Schwandt, Hannes, 2013. "Income and Population Growth," IZA Discussion Papers 7422, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Black, Dan A. & Kolesnikova, Natalia & Taylor, Lowell J., 2014. "Why do so few women work in New York (and so many in Minneapolis)? Labor supply of married women across US cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 59-71.
  7. Michael Lovenheim & Kevin Mumford, 2010. "Do Family Wealth Shocks Affect Fertility Choices? Evidence from the Housing Market Boom and Bust," Discussion Papers 09-004, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  8. Anca Cotet & Kevin K. Tsui, 2010. "Resource Curse or Malthusian Trap? Evidence from Oil Discoveries and Extractions," Working Papers 201001, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2010.

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