Fertility and Consumption when Having a Child is a Risky Investment
AbstractIn this paper we study a new factor that matters for fertility and consumption decisions: the risks associated with having and raising a child. We analyze a real options model with incomplete markets to explicitly model both children as a risky investment and the parental option to time fertility. We focus on CRRA preferences and uninsurable shocks to future parental income and to the costs of raising a child. We obtain several results that are new relative to the standard Beckerian fertility framework where children are deterministic goods: i) Independently of wealth, higher child cost volatility diminishes fertility. ii) Consumption is decreasing in higher cost volatility but the slope flattens as wealth increases. iii) Wealth alters the way in which the agent's risk tolerance impacts the fertility and consumption decisions. For low wealth levels, risk aversion speeds up fertility and lowers consumption with children serving as an utility insurance mechanism. iv) Fertility is increasing in the correlation between income and child cost shocks. v) The sign of this correlation determines if higher income volatility speeds up or delays fertility. vi) Fertility is U-shaped in the income over wealth ratio. Finally, we use regression analysis to provide empirical support for the theoretical results.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 27885.
Date of creation: Dec 2010
Date of revision:
Fertility; Consumption; Real Options; Incomplete Markets;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
- A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
- G00 - Financial Economics - - General - - - General
- G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
- D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-01-16 (All new papers)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
- 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.
- Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert Tamura, 1994. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 323-350 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M & Tamura, Robert, 1990. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S12-37, October.
- Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert Tamura, . "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 90-5a, Chicago - Population Research Center.
- Rajeev Dehejia & Adriana LLeras Muney, 2004.
"Booms, Busts, and Babies' Health,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 1091-1130, August.
- Emanuela Cardia & Serena Ng, 2003. "Intergenerational Time Transfers and Childcare," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(2), pages 431-454, April.
- Gary S. Becker, 1960. "An Economic Analysis of Fertility," NBER Chapters, in: Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries, pages 209-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Caballero, Ricardo J, 1991. "Earnings Uncertainty and Aggregate Wealth Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 859-71, September.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.