Optimal lifecycle fertility in a Barro-Becker economy
Parenthood postponement is a key demographic trend of the last three decades. In order to rationalize that stylized fact, we extend the canonical model by Barro and Becker (1989) to include two - instead of one - reproduction periods. We examine how the cost structure of early and late children in terms of time and goods affects the optimal fertility timing. Then, focusing a stationary equilibrium with stationary population, we provide two alternative explanations for the observed postponement of births: (1) a fall of the direct cost of late children (thanks to medical advances); (2) a rise in hourly productivity, which increases the (relative) opportunity costs of early children in comparison to late children.
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