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Endogenous Childlessness and Stages of Development

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  • Thomas TB Baudin
  • David De la Croix
  • Paula Eugenia Gobbi

Abstract

Although developing countries are characterized by high average fertility rates, they are as concerned by childlessness as developed countries. Beyond natural sterility, there are two main types of childlessness: one driven by poverty and another by the high opportunity cost of child-rearing. We measure the importance of the components of childlessness with a structural model of fertility and marriage. Deep parameters are identified using census data from 36 developing countries. As average education increases, poverty-driven childlessness first decreases to a minimum, and then the opportunity-driven part of childlessness increases. We show that neglecting the endogenous response of marriage and childlessness may lead to a poor understanding of the impact that social progress, such as universal primary education, may have on completed fertility. The same holds for family planning, closing the gender pay gap, and the eradication of child mortality.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas TB Baudin & David De la Croix & Paula Eugenia Gobbi, 2018. "Endogenous Childlessness and Stages of Development," Working Papers ECARES 2018-04, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2013/266143
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    Cited by:

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    2. David E. BLOOM & Michael KUHN & Klaus PRETTNER, 2017. "Africa’s Prospects for Enjoying a Demographic Dividend," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 83(1), pages 63-76, March.
    3. Sandra Brée & David de la Croix, 2019. "Key forces behind the decline of fertility: lessons from childlessness in Rouen before the industrial revolution," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 13(1), pages 25-54, January.
    4. Zainab Iftikhar, 2018. "The effect of norms on fertility and its implications for the quantity-quality trade-off in Pakistan," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2018014, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    5. Myong, Sunha & Park, JungJae & Yi, Junjian, 2018. "Social Norms and Fertility," IZA Discussion Papers 11744, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Hiller, Victor & Touré, Nouhoum, 2021. "Endogenous gender power: The two facets of empowerment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 149(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    poverty; childlessness; marriage; education; fertility; unwanted births; structural estimation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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