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Structural Change and the Fertility Transition

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  • Ager, Philipp
  • Herz, Benedikt

Abstract

This paper provides new insights on the relationship between structural change and the fertility transition. We exploit the spread of an agricultural pest in the American South in the 1890s as plausibly exogenous variation in agricultural production to establish a causal link between earnings opportunities in agriculture and fertility. Households staying in agriculture reduced fertility because children are a normal good, while households switching to manufacturing reduced fertility because of the higher opportunity costs of raising children. The lower earnings opportunities in agriculture also decreased the value of child labor which increased schooling, consistent with a quantity-quality model of fertility.

Suggested Citation

  • Ager, Philipp & Herz, Benedikt, 2019. "Structural Change and the Fertility Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers 13609, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13609
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agricultural Income; Fertility Transition; Industrialization; structural change;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology

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