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The macroeconomics of fertility in small open economies: A test of the Becker-Barro model for The Netherlands and New Zealand

Author

Listed:
  • Jacques Poot

    () (School of Economics and Finance, Victoria University of Wellington, P.O. Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand)

  • Jacques J. Siegers

    () (Economic Institute/Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Labour Market and Distribution Issues, University of Utrecht, Kromme Nieuwegracht 22, 3512 HH Utrecht, The Netherlands)

Abstract

Becker and Barro (1988) formulated a theoretical model which identified a range of macroeconomic variables which can temporarily or permanently affect fertility in small open economies. This article tests the Becker-Barro model with relevant data which covers most of the 20th century for two small open economies, namely The Netherlands and New Zealand. The results show that government subsidies for having children have a strong positive effect on fertility, while the provision of public pensions has a strong negative effect. The degree of intergenerational altruism appears to have been declining. Moreover, there is only weak support for the hypothesis that real interest rates positively influence fertility.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacques Poot & Jacques J. Siegers, 2001. "The macroeconomics of fertility in small open economies: A test of the Becker-Barro model for The Netherlands and New Zealand," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 14(1), pages 73-100.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:14:y:2001:i:1:p:73-100 Note: Received: 2 March 1998/Accepted: 1 September 1999
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. William Mosher & Linda Williams & David Johnson, 1992. "Religion and fertility in the United States: New patterns," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 29(2), pages 199-214, May.
    2. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-1187, December.
    3. Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert A, 1993. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, pages 988-1010.
    4. Lee Lillard & Linda Waite, 1993. "A joint model of marital childbearing and marital disruption," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), pages 653-681.
    5. Evelyn Lehrer & Shoshana Grossbard-Shechtman & J. Leasure, 1996. "Comment on “a theory of the value of children”," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 33(1), pages 133-136, February.
    6. Azzi, Corry & Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1975. "Household Allocation of Time and Church Attendance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(1), pages 27-56, February.
    7. Evelyn Lehrer & Carmel Chiswick, 1993. "Religion as a determinant of marital stability," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 30(3), pages 385-404, August.
    8. Marc Nerlove & Assaf Razin, 1979. "Child Spacing and Numbers: An Empirical Analysis," Discussion Papers 371, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ralph Lattimore & Clinton Pobke, 2008. "Recent Trends in Australian Fertility," Staff Working Papers 0806, Productivity Commission, Government of Australia.
    2. Löfström, Åsa & Westerberg, Thomas, 2006. "Variations in Fertility - a Consequense of Other Factors Besides Love?," Umeå Economic Studies 681, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
    3. John Janssen, 2002. "Long-term fiscal projections and their relationship with the intertemporal budget constraint: An application to New Zealand," Treasury Working Paper Series 02/05, New Zealand Treasury.
    4. George Hondroyiannis, 2009. "Fertility Determinants and Economic Uncertainty:An Assessment Using European Panel Data," Working Papers 96, Bank of Greece.
    5. George Hondroyiannis, 2010. "Fertility Determinants and Economic Uncertainty: An Assessment Using European Panel Data," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 33-50, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Dynastic utility · altruism · fertility · social security · real interest rates;

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative

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