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Fertility transitions along the extensive and intensive margins

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  • Daniel Aaronson
  • Fabian Lange
  • Bhash Mazumder

Abstract

This paper examines the fertility transition through a new lens: the extensive margin. Parents with high levels of children might substitute quality for quantity as the constraints on quality relax or those on quantity tighten. However, along the extensive margin, the quantity-quality trade-off cannot operate. At low levels of fertility, we expect quality and quantity to be essential complements. We apply these insights to a large school construction program in the American South during the early 20th century, the Rosenwald Rural Schools Initiative. We find that increased schooling opportunities lead to reductions in fertility among women with high fertility levels, while at the same time inducing higher levels of fertility among women with low levels of fertility. The magnitude of the fertility changes induced in the parent generation is, however, small compared to the changes in fertility induced by the Rosenwald intervention among women that were themselves treated by the intervention. The evidence from the Rosenwald intervention therefore suggests that changes in female opportunity costs induced by increased educational attainment might be among the most important driving forces of the fertility transition.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-2011-09.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-2011-09

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Keywords: Fertility;

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References

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  1. Galor, Oded, 2011. "The Demographic Transition: Causes and Consequences," CEPR Discussion Papers 8249, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Rodrigo R. Soares, 2004. "Mortality Reductions, Educational Attainment, and Fertility Choice," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 9, Econometric Society.
  3. Daniel Aaronson & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2009. "The impact of Rosenwald Schools on Black achievement," Working Paper Series WP-09-26, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Galor, Oded & Weil, David, 1999. "From Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2082, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Cervellati, Matteo & Sunde, Uwe, 2002. "Human Capital Formation, Life Expectancy and the Process of Economic Development," IZA Discussion Papers 585, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Becker, Sascha & Francesco, Cinirella & Woessmann, Ludger, 2009. "The Trade-off between Fertility and Education: Evidence from before the Demographic Transition," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2009-17, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  7. Oded Galor & David N. Weil, 1993. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," NBER Working Papers 4550, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Psacharopoulos, George & Patrinos, Harry Anthony, 2002. "Returns to investment in education : a further update," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2881, The World Bank.
  9. Joshua Angrist & Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2010. "Multiple Experiments for the Causal Link between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(4), pages 773-824, October.
  10. Matthias Doepke, 2001. "Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth," UCLA Economics Working Papers 804, UCLA Department of Economics.
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  13. Cervellati, Matteo & Sunde, Uwe, 2005. "Human capital formation, life expectancy, and the process of development," Munich Reprints in Economics 20083, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  14. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
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  16. Hoyt Bleakley & Fabian Lange, 2009. "Chronic Disease Burden and the Interaction of Education, Fertility, and Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 52-65, February.
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Cited by:
  1. BAUDIN, Thomas & DE LA CROIX, David & GOBBI, Paula, 2012. "DINKs, DEWKs & Co. Marriage, fertility and childlessness in the United States," CORE Discussion Papers 2012051, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Bastien CHABE-FERRET, 2013. "Socioeconomic Characteristics, Fertility Norms and the Black-White Fertility Gap in the US," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2013011, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).

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