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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. Andrew E. Clark & Anthony Lepinteur, 2020. "A Natural Experiment on Job Insecurity and Fertility in France," PSE Working Papers halshs-02540036, HAL.
    2. Virginia Sanchez Marcos & Ezgi Kaya & Nezih Guner, 2017. "Labor Market Frictions and Lowest Low Fertility," 2017 Meeting Papers 1015, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Kesternich, Iris & Siflinger, Bettina & Smith, James P. & Steckenleiter, Carina, 2020. "Unbalanced sex ratios in Germany caused by World War II and their effect on fertility: A life cycle perspective," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 130(C).
    4. Andrew E. Clark & Anthony Lepinteur, 2020. "A Natural Experiment on Job Insecurity and Fertility in France," PSE Working Papers halshs-02540036, HAL.
    5. Gözgör, Giray & Bilgin, Mehmet Huseyin & Rangazas, Peter, 2019. "Economic Uncertainty and Fertility," GLO Discussion Paper Series 360, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    6. 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.
    7. Emeline Bezin & Bastien Chabé-Ferret & David de la Croix, 2018. "Strategic Fertility, Education Choices and Conflicts in Deeply Divided Societies," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2018011, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    8. Andrew E. Clark & Anthony Lepinteur, 2020. "A Natural Experiment on Job Insecurity and Fertility in France," Working Papers halshs-02540036, HAL.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    baby boom; baby bust; fertility; economic uncertainty;
    All these keywords.

    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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