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The age at first birth and completed fertility reconsidered: findings from a sample of identical twins

Author

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  • Hans-Peter Kohler

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

  • Axel Skytthe
  • Kaare Christensen

Abstract

In this paper we use new methods and data to reassess the relationship between the age at first birth and completed fertility. In particular we attempt to properly estimate the postponement effect, i.e., the reduction in fertility associated with a delay in childbearing, using a sample of Danish monozygotic twins born 1945--60 to control for unobserved heterogeneity. Within-MZ twin pair estimates of the postponement effect indicate that a one year delay in the first birth reduces completed fertility by about 3% for both males and females. The effect is significantly stronger for older cohorts, and it is stronger for females with a late desired entry into parenthood. Analyses that fail to control for unobservables underestimate this postponement effect between 10--25%, and they underestimate the annual decline of this effect by up to 50%. Moreover, our estimates indicate important changes across cohorts in the relevance of child-preferences and ability characteristics for the age at first birth and the pace and level of subsequent fertility. (AUTHORS)

Suggested Citation

  • Hans-Peter Kohler & Axel Skytthe & Kaare Christensen, 2001. "The age at first birth and completed fertility reconsidered: findings from a sample of identical twins," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-006, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2001-006
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    File URL: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/Papers/Working/wp-2001-006.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Rondinelli, Concetta & Aassve, Arnstein & Billari, Francesco C., 2006. "Socio-economic differences in postponement and recuperation of fertility in Italy: results from a multi-spell random effect model," ISER Working Paper Series 2006-46, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    2. Hans-Peter Kohler & Francesco C. Billari & José Antonio Ortega, 2002. "The Emergence of Lowest-Low Fertility in Europe During the 1990s," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(4), pages 641-680.
    3. Hans-Peter Kohler & José Antonio Ortega, 2002. "Tempo-Adjusted Period Parity Progression Measures, Fertility Postponement and Completed Cohort Fertility," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 6(6), pages 91-144, March.
    4. Massimiliano Bratti & Konstantinos Tatsiramos, 2012. "The effect of delaying motherhood on the second childbirth in Europe," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(1), pages 291-321, January.
    5. Jere R. Behrman & Hans-Peter Kohler & Susan Cotts Watkins, 2001. "How can we measure the causal effects of social networks using observational data? Evidence from the diffusion of family planning and AIDS worries in South Nyanza District, Kenya," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-022, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    6. Ralph Lattimore & Clinton Pobke, 2008. "Recent Trends in Australian Fertility," Staff Working Papers 0806, Productivity Commission, Government of Australia.
    7. Erich Battistin & Michele De Nadai & Mario Padula, 2015. "Roadblocks on the Road to Grandma�s House: Fertility Consequences of Delayed Retirement," Working Papers 748, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    8. Vegard Skirbekk & Hans-Peter Kohler & Alexia Fürnkranz-Prskawetz, 2003. "Completing education and the timing of births and marriage: findings from a birth-month experiment in Sweden," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2003-017, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    9. Hans-Peter Kohler & Lisbeth B. Knudsen & Axel Skytthe & Kaare Christensen, 2002. "The fertility pattern of twins and the general population compared: evidence from Danish cohorts 1945-64," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2002-005, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    10. Quanbao Jiang & Ying Li & Jesús J. Sánchez-Barricarte, 2016. "Fertility Intention, Son Preference, and Second Childbirth: Survey Findings from Shaanxi Province of China," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 125(3), pages 935-953, February.
    11. Hans-Peter Kohler & Lisbeth B. Knudsen & Axel Skytthe & Kaare Christensen, 2002. "The Fertility Pattern of Twins and the General Population Compared: Evidence from Danish Cohorts 1945-64," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 6(14), pages 383-408, May.
    12. Hans-Peter Kohler & José Antonio Ortega, 2002. "Tempo-Adjusted Period Parity Progression Measures:," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 6(7), pages 145-190, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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