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Do Highly Educated Women Choose Smaller Families?

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  • Hazan, Moshe
  • Zoabi, Hosny

Abstract

Conventional wisdom suggests that in developed countries income and fertility are negatively correlated. We present new evidence that between 2001 and 2009 the cross-sectional relationship between fertility and women's education in the U.S. is U-shaped. At the same time, average hours worked increase monotonically with women's education. This pattern is true for all women and mothers to newborns regardless of marital status. In this paper, we advance the marketization hypothesis for explaining the positive correlation between fertility and female labor supply along the educational gradient. In our model, raising children and home-making require parents' time, which could be substituted by services bought in the market such as baby-sitting and housekeeping. Highly educated women substitute a significant part of their own time for market services to raise children and run their households, which enables them to have more children and work longer hours. Finally, we use our model to shed light on differences between the U.S. and Western Europe in fertility and women's time allocated to labor supply and home production. We argue that higher inequality in the U.S. lowers the cost of baby-sitting and housekeeping services and enables U.S. women to have more children, spend less time on home production and work more than their European counterparts.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8590.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8590

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Keywords: fertility; U.S. - Europe differences; Women's education;

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References

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  1. DE LA CROIX, David & DOEPKE, Matthias, . "Inequality and growth: why differential fertility matters," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1676, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2002. "The Baby Boom and Baby Bust," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 1, Economie d'Avant Garde.
  3. Galor, Oded, 2005. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 171-293 Elsevier.
  4. Omer Moav, 2005. "Cheap Children and the Persistence of Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 88-110, 01.
  5. Jonathan Guryan & Erik Hurst & Melissa Kearney, 2008. "Parental Education and Parental Time with Children," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 23-46, Summer.
  6. Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2002. "Why Do Women Wait? Matching, Wage Inequality, and the Incentives for Fertility Delay," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 815-855, October.
  7. Samuel H. Preston & Caroline Sten Hartnett, 2008. "The Future of American Fertility," NBER Working Papers 14498, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Qingyan Shang & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2009. "Opting For Families: Recent Trends in the Fertility of Highly Educated Women," NBER Working Papers 15074, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Maoz, Yishay David, 2010. "Labor Hours In The United States And Europe: The Role Of Different Leisure Preferences," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(02), pages 231-241, April.
  10. Patricia Cort�s & Jos� Tessada, 2011. "Low-Skilled Immigration and the Labor Supply of Highly Skilled Women," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 88-123, July.
  11. Delia Furtado & Heinrich Hock, 2010. "Low Skilled Immigration and Work-Fertility Tradeoffs among High Skilled US Natives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 224-28, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Thomas Baudin & David De La Croix & Paula Gobbi, 2012. "DINKs, DEWKs & Co. Marriage, Fertility and Childlessness in the United States," Working Papers hal-00993307, HAL.
  2. Paula GOBBI, 2013. "Childcare and Commitment within Households," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2013019, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  3. Alexander Kemnitz & Marcel Thum, 2012. "Gender Power, Fertility, and Family Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 3798, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Cordoba, Juan Carlos & Ripoll, Marla, 2012. "Barro-Becker with Credit Frictions," Staff General Research Papers 35532, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.

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