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Fertility Changes in Latin America in the Context of Economic Uncertainty

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  • Adsera, Alicia

    ()
    (Princeton University)

  • Menendez, Alicia

    ()
    (University of Chicago)

Abstract

We explore the relation between fertility and the business cycle in Latin American countries taking advantage of the existing cross-country and within-country differences in both fertility and macroeconomic conditions. First, we use a panel of 18 nations for over 45 years to study how different labor market and economic shocks may have affected fertility. Second, we estimate Cox proportional hazard models of transitions to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd births with individual Demographic and Health Survey data from ten countries. We find that periods of relative high unemployment are associated with lower fertility and with relative postponements of maternity (and to some extent second and third births). In general, women seem to postpone and even reduce childbearing in response to downturns. This behavior is mainly associated to increasing unemployment rather than slowdowns in GPD growth, although we find a positive relationship between first births and growth. Despite that periods of unemployment may be good to have children because opportunity costs are lower, maternity is reduced or postponed, in particular, among the most recent cohort and among urban and more educated women. This is consistent with the idea that, in this context, income effects are dominant.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4019.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as 'Fertility changes in Latin America in periods of economic uncertainty' in: Population Studies, 2011, 65 (1), 37 - 56
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4019

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Keywords: Latin America; unemployment; fertility; growth;

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Cited by:
  1. Shwetlena Sabarwal & Nistha Sinha & Mayra Buvinic, 2011. "How Do Women Weather Economic Shocks? What We Know," World Bank Other Operational Studies 10113, The World Bank.
  2. Sabarwal, Shwetlena & Sinha, Nistha & Buvinic, Mayra, 2010. "How do women weather economic shocks ? a review of the evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5496, The World Bank.
  3. Sabarwal, Shwetlena & Sinha, Nistha & Buvinic, Mayra, 2011. "How Do Women Weather Economic Shocks? What We Know," World Bank - Economic Premise, The World Bank, issue 46, pages 1-6, January.
  4. Emilia Del Bono & Andrea Weber & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2011. "Fertility and Economic Instability: The Role of Unemployment and Job Displacement," NRN working papers 2011-02, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  5. repec:ese:iserwp:2014-06 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Pedro Gete and Paolo Porchia, 2011. "Fertility and Consumption when Having a Child is a Risky Investment," Working Papers gueconwpa~11-11-03, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  7. Luis Rosero-Bixby & Teresa Castro-Martín & Teresa Martín-García, 2009. "Is Latin America starting to retreat from early and universal childbearing?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 20(9), pages 169-194, February.
  8. World Bank, 2011. "Work and Family : Latin American and Caribbean Women in Search of a New Balance," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12489, The World Bank.

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