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Horizontal vs. vertical transmission of fertility preferences

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  • Di Miceli, Andrea

Abstract

I study the cultural transmission of fertility preferences among second-generation immigrant women observed in U.S. Censuses from 1910 to 1970. As hypothesized by Bisin and Verdier (2001), the transmission of preferences can be “vertical” or “horizontal”. Using a unique source documenting the variation in fertility behavior in Europe before and after the first demographic transition (1830–1970), I unpack the influence of parents (measured by source-country fertility at the time of departure from Europe) versus the influence of peers from the same source-country (measured by fertility of the same-age cohorts living in the source-country and transmitted by same-age recent immigrants). I find that the transmission mechanism is crucially affected by the number of foreign-born immigrant peers living in the same MSA. On one hand, the “vertical” channel of transmission is stronger in places where there are few newly arrived foreign-born immigrant couples from the same source-countries. On the other hand, the “horizontal” channel prevails in MSA’s densely populated by recently arrived immigrants from the same source-countries of second-generation ones.

Suggested Citation

  • Di Miceli, Andrea, 2019. "Horizontal vs. vertical transmission of fertility preferences," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 562-578.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:47:y:2019:i:3:p:562-578
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2019.06.001
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    1. Giuliano, Paola, 2020. "Gender and Culture," CEPR Discussion Papers 15185, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cultural transmission; U.S. fertility; Channels of cultural transmission; Second-generation immigrants; Fertility preferences;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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