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Fertility transitions along the extensive and intensive margins

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  • Daniel Aaronson
  • Fabian Lange
  • Bhashkar Mazumder

Abstract

This paper examines the fertility transition through a new lens: the extensive margin. Parents with high levels of children might substitute quality for quantity as the constraints on quality relax or those on quantity tighten. However, along the extensive margin, the quantity-quality trade-off cannot operate. At low levels of fertility, we expect quality and quantity to be essential complements. We apply these insights to a large school construction program in the American South during the early 20th century, the Rosenwald Rural Schools Initiative. We find that increased schooling opportunities lead to reductions in fertility among women with high fertility levels, while at the same time inducing higher levels of fertility among women with low levels of fertility. The magnitude of the fertility changes induced in the parent generation is, however, small compared to the changes in fertility induced by the Rosenwald intervention among women that were themselves treated by the intervention. The evidence from the Rosenwald intervention therefore suggests that changes in female opportunity costs induced by increased educational attainment might be among the most important driving forces of the fertility transition.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Aaronson & Fabian Lange & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2011. "Fertility transitions along the extensive and intensive margins," Working Paper Series WP-2011-09, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-2011-09
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    Cited by:

    1. Matthew J. Hill, 2014. "Easterlin revisted: Relative income and the baby boom," Economics Working Papers 1453, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    2. repec:eee:deveco:v:130:y:2018:i:c:p:33-44 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. David de la Croix & Eric B. Schneider & Jacob Weisdorf, 2017. ""Decessit sine prole" Childlessness, Celibacy, and Survival of the Richest in Pre-Industrial England," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2017001, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    4. Thomas Baudin & David de la Croix & Paula E. Gobbi, 2015. "Fertility and Childlessness in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(6), pages 1852-1882, June.
    5. Baudin, Thomas & de la Croix, David & Gobbi, Paula, 2017. "Endogenous Childlessness and Stages of Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 12071, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Bastien CHABE-FERRET, 2013. "Socioeconomic Characteristics, Fertility Norms and the Black-White Fertility Gap in the US," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2013011, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    7. Gregory Casey & Oded Galor, 2016. "Population Growth and Carbon Emissions," CESifo Working Paper Series 6223, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Grimm, Michael, 2016. "Rainfall Risk and Fertility: Evidence from Farm Settlements during the American Demographic Transition," IZA Discussion Papers 10351, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Ito, Takahiro & Tanaka, Shinsuke, 2018. "Abolishing user fees, fertility choice, and educational attainment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 33-44.
    10. Michael Geruso & Heather Royer, 2018. "The Impact of Education on Family Formation: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from the UK," NBER Working Papers 24332, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Santiago Garganta & Leonardo Gasparini & Mariana Marchionni & Mariano Tappatá, 2017. "The Effect of Cash Transfers on Fertility: Evidence from Argentina," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 36(1), pages 1-24, February.
    12. Momota, Akira, 2016. "Intensive and extensive margins of fertility, capital accumulation, and economic welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 90-110.
    13. Hill, Matthew J., 2015. "Easterlin revisited: Relative income and the baby boom," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 71-85.
    14. Hannah Liepmann, 2016. "The Impact of a Negative Labor Demand Shock on Fertility - Evidence from the Fall of the Berlin Wall," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2016-042, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    15. Janet Currie & Hannes Schwandt, 2015. "Short and Long-Term Effects of Unemployment on Fertility," CEP Discussion Papers dp1387, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    16. Nayoung Rim & Kyung Park, 2017. "The Gendered Effects of Career Concerns on Fertility," Departmental Working Papers 59, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
    17. Mveyange Anthony, 2015. "On the fertility transition in Africa: Income, child mortality, or education?," WIDER Working Paper Series 089, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    18. Katherine Eriksson, 2015. "Access to Schooling and the Black-White Incarceration Gap in the Early 20th Century US South: Evidence from Rosenwald Schools," NBER Working Papers 21727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Grimm, Michael, 2017. "Rainfall risk, fertility and development: Evidence from farm settlements during the American demographic transition," Ruhr Economic Papers 718, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fertility;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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