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Fertility transitions along the extensive and intensive margins

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Author Info

  • 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. 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.
  2. Oded Galor & David N. Weil, 1993. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," NBER Working Papers 4550, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert F. Tamura, 1990. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3414, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Moshe Hazan, 2009. "Longevity and Lifetime Labor Supply: Evidence and Implications," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(6), pages 1829-1863, November.
  6. 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).
  7. Becker, Sascha O. & Cinnirella, Francesco & Woessmann, Ludger, 2009. "The Trade-off between Fertility and Education: Evidence from before the Demographic Transition," IZA Discussion Papers 4557, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Matthias Doepke, 2001. "Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth," UCLA Economics Working Papers 804, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Galor, Oded, 2012. "The Demographic Transition: Causes and Consequences," IZA Discussion Papers 6334, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. George Psacharopoulos & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 2004. "Returns to investment in education: a further update," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 111-134.
  11. Rodrigo R. Soares, 2003. "Mortality Reductions, Educational Attainment, and Fertility Choice," Development and Comp Systems 0312006, EconWPA.
  12. Galor, Oded & Weil, David, 1999. "From Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2082, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. 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.
  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.
  15. 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, .
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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," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2012013, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  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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