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Educational attainment and timing of fertility decisions


  • Juan Carlos Conesa

    (Universitat de Barcelona)


This paper focuses on timing of fertility decisions, conditional on the level of educational attainment of parents. Timing of fertility and educational attainment of parents rationalize the negative relationship observed in the data between hourly wages and childbearing. It is shown how the recent evolution in total fertility rates observed in developed countries could be in part the result of a transition from an early childbearing regime to a late childbearing regime. I develop a general equilibrium overlapping generations model in order to understand the joint determination of timing of childbearing decisions together with other household economic decisions in a life cycle framework. I show how idiosyncratic uncertainty might have asymmetric eects on completed fertility depending on timing of childbearing, generating the dierences in completed fertility observed between households that dier in their level of educational attainment.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan Carlos Conesa, 2002. "Educational attainment and timing of fertility decisions," Working Papers in Economics 78, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
  • Handle: RePEc:bar:bedcje:200278

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1980. "Life-Cycle Labor Supply and Fertility: Causal Inferences from Household Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 328-348, April.
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    3. Tauchen, George & Hussey, Robert, 1991. "Quadrature-Based Methods for Obtaining Approximate Solutions to Nonlinear Asset Pricing Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 371-396, March.
    4. Hotz, V Joseph & Miller, Robert A, 1988. "An Empirical Analysis of Life Cycle Fertility and Female Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 91-118, January.
    5. John Bongaarts, 1999. "Fertility Decline in the Developed World: Where Will It End?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 256-260, May.
    6. Joseph Hotz, V. & Klerman, Jacob Alex & Willis, Robert J., 1993. "The economics of fertility in developed countries," Handbook of Population and Family Economics,in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 275-347 Elsevier.
    7. Hubbard, R. Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P., 1994. "The importance of precautionary motives in explaining individual and aggregate saving," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 59-125, June.
    8. Pedro Mira & Namkee Ahn, 2002. "A note on the changing relationship between fertility and female employment rates in developed countries," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(4), pages 667-682.
    9. Montgomery, Mark & Trussell, James, 1987. "Models of marital status and childbearing," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 3, pages 205-271 Elsevier.
    10. Willis, Robert J, 1973. "A New Approach to the Economic Theory of Fertility Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 14-64, Part II, .
    11. Juan C. Conesa & Dirk Krueger, 1999. "Social Security Reform with Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(4), pages 757-795, October.
    12. Browning, Martin, 1992. "Children and Household Economic Behavior," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1434-1475, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Orazio Attanasio & Hamish Low & Virginia Sánchez-Marcos, 2008. "Explaining Changes in Female Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1517-1552, September.
    2. Michelle Sheran Sylvester, 2007. "The Career and Family Choices of Women: A Dynamic Analysis of Labor Force Participation, Schooling, Marriage and Fertility Decisions," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(3), pages 367-399, July.
    3. Juan A. Rojas, 2004. "On the Interaction between Education and Social Security," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(4), pages 932-957, October.
    4. Yao, Yao, 2016. "Fertility and HIV risk in Africa," Working Paper Series 5342, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
    5. Lucie Schmidt, 2008. "Risk preferences and the timing of marriage and childbearing," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 45(2), pages 439-460, May.
    6. Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2002. "Why Do Women Wait? Matching, Wage Inequality, and the Incentives for Fertility Delay," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 815-855, October.
    7. Hans Fehr & Daniela Ujhelyiova, 2013. "Fertility, Female Labor Supply, and Family Policy," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 14(2), pages 138-165, May.
    8. Sekyu Choi, 2010. "Fertility Risk in the Life-Cycle," 2010 Meeting Papers 594, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2001. "The Timing of Births: A Marriage Market Analysis," Penn CARESS Working Papers 49355d43c11f2314075e8b54e, Penn Economics Department.
    10. Gete, Pedro & Porchia, Paolo, 2010. "Fertility and Consumption when Having a Child is a Risky Investment," MPRA Paper 27885, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Charles H. Mullin & Ping Wang, 2002. "The Timing of Childbearing among Heterogeneous Women in Dynamic General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 9231, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. José María Da Rocha & Luisa Fuster, 2003. "Why are Fertility and Female Participation Rates Positively Correlated across OECD countries?," Working Papers 72, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    13. Sommer, Kamila, 2016. "Fertility choice in a life cycle model with idiosyncratic uninsurable earnings risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 27-38.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior


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