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Differences in Fertility Behavior and Uncertainty: An Economic Theory of the Minority Status Hypothesis

  • Bastien CHABE-FERRET


    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, IMMAQ, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))



    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, IMMAQ, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) and Universita degli studi di Bologna)

We revisit the question of why fertility behaviors and educational decisions appear to vary systematically across ethnic groups. We assess the possibility that fertility differentials across groups remain even though their socio-economic characteristics are similar. More specifically, we consider that parents' fertility decisions are affected by the uncertainty concerning the future economic status of their off-spring. We assume that this uncertainty varies across groups and is linked to the size of the group one belongs to. The transition path gives support to the minority status hypothesis according to which minority members usually have a higher fertility facing low potential for social mobility but may in some instances strategically decrease their fertility.

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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) in its series Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) with number 2011005.

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Length: 32
Date of creation: 14 Feb 2011
Date of revision: 12 Dec 2011
Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2011005
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  1. 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.
  2. de la CROIX, David & DOEPKE, Matthias, 2002. "Public versus private education when differential fertility matters," CORE Discussion Papers 2002022, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2000. ""Beyond The Melting Pot": Cultural Transmission, Marriage, And The Evolution Of Ethnic And Religious Traits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 955-988, August.
  4. Kalemli-Ozcan, Sebnem, 2003. "A stochastic model of mortality, fertility, and human capital investment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 103-118, February.
  5. DE LA CROIX, David & DOEPKE, Matthias, . "Inequality and growth: why differential fertility matters," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1676, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  6. Matthias Doepke, 2002. "Child Mortality and Fertility Decline: Does the Barro-Becker Model Fit the Facts?," UCLA Economics Working Papers 824, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Miles S. Kimball, 1989. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," NBER Working Papers 2848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-95, October.
  9. Lang, Kevin, 1986. "A Language Theory of Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 363-82, May.
  10. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
  11. Simon, Curtis J & Warner, John T, 1992. "Matchmaker, Matchmaker: The Effect of Old Boy Networks on Job Match Quality, Earnings, and Tenure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(3), pages 306-30, July.
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