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Do Family Wealth Shocks Affect Fertility Choices? Evidence from the Housing Market Boom and Bust

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  • Michael F. Lovenheim
  • Kevin J. Mumford

Abstract

While there is a great deal of literature focusing on the relationship between income and fertility, little is known about how wealth affects fertility decisions of the household. This paper fills this gap in the literature by investigating how changes in housing wealth affect fertility. In particular, we use the wealth variation supplied by the recent housing boom and bust to generate exogenous variation in household wealth. We first conduct a state-level aggregate analysis to investigate how the birth rate is related to housing prices using differences in the timing and size of the housing market boom and bust across different states over time. We then conduct an analysis using restricted-use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics that allows us to track how women’s fertility behavior is related to individual-level housing price growth. The demographic and geographic controls in the PSID allow us to control extensively for any confounding effects driven by household selection across different cities or neighborhoods, and we find that for homeowners, a $10,000 increase in real housing wealth causes a 0.07 percent increase in fertility. We find little effects of MSA-level housing price growth on the fertility of renters, which supports our identification strategy. That increases in housing wealth are strongly associated with increases in fertility is consistent with some recent work showing a positive income effect on births, and our estimates are suggestive that the large recent variation in the housing market could have sizeable demographic effects that are driven by the positive effect of housing wealth on fertility.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Purdue University, Department of Economics in its series Purdue University Economics Working Papers with number 1228.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pur:prukra:1228

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  1. Case, Karl E. & Quigley, John M. & Shiller, Robert J., 2012. "Comparing Wealth Effects: The Stock Market versus The Housing Market," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt6px1d1sc, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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  6. Larry E. Jones & Alice Schoonbroodt & Michèle Tertilt, 2008. "Fertility Theories: Can They Explain the Negative Fertility-Income Relationship?," NBER Working Papers 14266, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. George B. Roberts, Chairman, Universities-National Bureau Committee for Economic Research, 1960. "Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number univ60-2, octubre-d.
  8. John Y. Campbell & João F. Cocco, 2005. "How Do House Prices Affect Consumption? Evidence From Micro Data," NBER Working Papers 11534, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Alma Cohen & Rajeev Dehejia & Dmitri Romanov, 2007. "Do Financial Incentives Affect Fertility?," NBER Working Papers 13700, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. Orazio Attanasio & Laura Blow & Robert Hamilton & Andrew Leicester, 2005. "Booms and busts: consumption, house prices and expectations," IFS Working Papers W05/24, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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Cited by:
  1. Huttunen, Kristiina & Kellokumpu, Jenni, 2012. "The Effect of Job Displacement on Couples' Fertility Decisions," IZA Discussion Papers 6707, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Fichera, E.; & Gathergood, J.;, 2013. "House Prices, Home Equity and Health," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 13/01, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  3. Lisa J. Dettling & Melissa Schettini Kearney, 2011. "House Prices and Birth Rates: The Impact of the Real Estate Market on the Decision to Have a Baby," NBER Working Papers 17485, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Richard Disney & John Gathergood, 2013. "House Prices, Wealth Effects and Labour Supply," Discussion Papers 13/02, University of Nottingham, School of Economics.

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