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Economics Uncertainty and Fertility Cycles: The Case of the Post-WWII Baby Boom

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  • Bastien Chabé-Ferret
  • Paula Eugenia Gobbi

Abstract

Using the US Census waves 1940-1990 and CPS 1990-2010, we look at how economic uncertainty affected fertility cycles over the course of the XXth century. We use cross-state and cross-cohort variation in the volatility of income growth to identify the causal link running from uncertainty to fertility. We find that economic uncertainty has a large and robust negative effect on completed fertility. We hypothesize that a greater economic uncertainty increases the risk of large consumption swings, which individuals mitigate by postponing fertility and ultimately decreasing their completed fertility. Differences in volatility account for between 45% and 61% of the one child variation observed during the post WWII baby boom

Suggested Citation

  • Bastien Chabé-Ferret & Paula Eugenia Gobbi, 2018. "Economics Uncertainty and Fertility Cycles: The Case of the Post-WWII Baby Boom," Working Papers ECARES 2018-19, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2013/274090
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    Cited by:

    1. Chabé-Ferret, Bastien, 2019. "Adherence to cultural norms and economic incentives: Evidence from fertility timing decisions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 24-48.
    2. Emeline Bezin & Bastien Chabé-Ferret & David de la Croix, 2018. "Strategic Fertility, Education Choices and Conflicts in Deeply Divided Societies," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2018011, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    3. Virginia Sanchez Marcos & Ezgi Kaya & Nezih Guner, 2017. "Labor Market Frictions and Lowest Low Fertility," 2017 Meeting Papers 1015, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Andrew E. Clark & Anthony Lepinteur, 2020. "A Natural Experiment on Job Insecurity and Fertility in France," Working Papers halshs-02540036, HAL.
    5. Kesternich, Iris & Siflinger, Bettina & Smith, James P. & Steckenleiter, Carina, 2018. "Unbalanced Sex Ratios in Germany Caused by World War II and their Effect on Fertility : A Life Cycle Perspective," Discussion Paper 2018-032, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    6. Gözgör, Giray & Bilgin, Mehmet Huseyin & Rangazas, Peter, 2019. "Economic Uncertainty and Fertility," GLO Discussion Paper Series 360, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    baby boom; baby bust; fertility; economic uncertainty;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative

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