Are children 'normal'?
In his classic work on the economics of fertility, Becker (1960) suggests that children are likely “normal.” We examine this contention. Our first step is documenting an empirical regularity about the cross section of white married couples in the U.S.: when we restrict comparisons to households living in broadly similar locations (e.g., in expensive urban areas, or in rural areas), completed fertility is positively correlated with the husband’s income. Two alternative models rationalize the data—one in which children are “normal” and a second in which the observed pattern emerges solely as a consequence of rational sorting by households. In an effort to sort out causal effects, we undertake a rather specialized empirical exercise to analyze the localized impact on fertility of the mid-1970s increase in world energy prices—an exogenous shock that substantially increased men’s incomes in the Appalachian coal-mining region. We find that children are indeed “normal.”
|Date of creation:||2009|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.stlouisfed.org/
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:|| Email: |
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Lalive, Rafael & Zweimüller, Josef, 2005.
"Does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return-to-Work? Evidence from a "True Natural Experiment","
IZA Discussion Papers
1613, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Rafael Lalive & Josef Zweimüller, . "Does Parental Leave Affect Fertility and Return-to-Work? Evidence from a ”True Natural Experiment”," IEW - Working Papers 242, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Heckman, James J & Walker, James R, 1990. "The Relationship between Wages and Income and the Timing and Spacing of Births: Evidence from Swedish Longitudinal Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1411-41, November.
- Larry E. Jones & Michele Tertilt, 2006. "An Economic History of Fertility in the U.S.: 1826-1960," NBER Working Papers 12796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Angrist, Joshua D & Evans, William N, 1998.
"Children and Their Parents' Labor Supply: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Family Size,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 450-77, June.
- Joshua D. Angrist & William N. Evans, 1996. "Children and Their Parents' Labor Supply: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Family Size," NBER Working Papers 5778, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Dan Black & Kermit Daniel & Seth Sanders, 2002. "The Impact of Economic Conditions on Participation in Disability Programs: Evidence from the Coal Boom and Bust," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 27-50, March.
- Simon, Curtis J. & Tamura, Robert, 2009.
"Do higher rents discourage fertility? Evidence from U.S. cities, 1940-2000,"
Regional Science and Urban Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 33-42, January.
- Simon, Curtis & Tamura, Robert, 2008. "Do higher rents discourage fertility? evidence from U.S. cities, 1940-2000," MPRA Paper 7721, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Black, Dan & Gates, Gary & Sanders, Seth & Taylor, Lowell, 2002. "Why Do Gay Men Live in San Francisco?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 54-76, January.
- Willis, Robert J, 1973. "A New Approach to the Economic Theory of Fertility Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S14-64, Part II, .
- Dan Black & Terra McKinnish & Seth Sanders, 2005. "The Economic Impact Of The Coal Boom And Bust," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(503), pages 449-476, 04.
- Mary Borg, 1989. "The Income-Fertility Relationship: Effect of the Net Price of a Child," Demography, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 301-310, May.
- Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S279-88, Part II, .
- Schultz, T Paul, 1985. "Changing World Prices, Women's Wages, and the Fertility Transition: Sweden, 1860-1910," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1126-54, December.
- V. Joseph Hotz & Robert A. Miller, .
"An Empirical Analysis of Life Cycle Fertility and Female Labor Supply,"
University of Chicago - Population Research Center
86-15, Chicago - Population Research Center.
- Hotz, V Joseph & Miller, Robert A, 1988. "An Empirical Analysis of Life Cycle Fertility and Female Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 91-118, January.
- Black, Dan & Sanders, Seth & Taylor, Lowell, 2003. "Measurement of Higher Education in the Census and Current Population Survey," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 98, pages 545-554, January.
- Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-78, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2008-040. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Anna Xiao)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.