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Gender power, fertility, and family policy

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  • Kemnitz, Alexander
  • Thum, Marcel

Abstract

The birth of children often shifts the power balance within a family. If family decisions are made according to the spouses' welfare function, this shift in power may lead to a time consistency problem. The allocation of resources after the birth of children may differ from the ex-ante optimal choice. In a model of cooperative decision making within a family, we show that this time consistency problem leads to a systematic downward bias in fertility choices. By keeping fertility low, families try to mitigate the ex-ante undesired shift in the power balance. This bias in fertility choices provides scope for welfare enhancing policy intervention. We discuss the extent to which existing measures in family policy are suitable to overcome the fertility bias. --

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Paper provided by Dresden University of Technology, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics in its series Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics with number 01/13.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:tuddps:0113

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Keywords: Fertility; Family Policy; Household Allocation;

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  1. Raphaela Hyee & Julio R. Robledo, 2009. "Specialization in the Bargaining Family," Working Papers 640, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  2. Alessandro Cigno & Annalisa Luporini & Anna Pettini, 2000. "Tranfers to families with children as a principal-agent problem," CHILD Working Papers wp02_00, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  3. Shelly Lundberg & Robert Pollak, 2003. "Efficiency in Marriage," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 153-167, September.
  4. Hazan, Moshe & Zoabi, Hosny, 2011. "Do Highly Educated Women Choose Smaller Families?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8590, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1997. "The Value of Children and Immigrants in a Pay-As-You-Go Pension System: A Proposal For a Partial Transition to a Funded System," CEPR Discussion Papers 1734, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  12. Shelly J. Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak & Terence J. Wales, 1997. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from the United Kingdom Child Benefit," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 463-480.
  13. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1992. "Collective Labor Supply and Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 437-67, June.
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  15. Valérie Lechene & Ian Preston, 2010. "Non cooperative household demand," IFS Working Papers W10/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  16. Rasul, Imran, 2008. "Household bargaining over fertility: Theory and evidence from Malaysia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 215-241, June.
  17. Iyigun, Murat & Walsh, Randall P., 2007. "Endogenous gender power, household labor supply and the demographic transition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 138-155, January.
  18. Elisabeth Gugl, 2009. "Income splitting, specialization, and intra-family distribution," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 42(3), pages 1050-1071, August.
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  20. Konrad, Kai A & Lommerud, Kjell Erik, 1995. " Family Policy with Non-cooperative Families," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 581-601, December.
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