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Why did Rich Families Increase their Fertility? Inequality and Marketization of Child Care

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  • Michael Bar
  • Moshe Hazan
  • Oksana Leukhina
  • David Weiss
  • Hosny Zoabi

Abstract

A negative relationship between income and fertility has persisted for so long that its existence is often taken for granted. One economic theory builds on this relationship and argues that rising inequality leads to greater differential fertility between rich and poor. We show that the relationship between income and fertility has ?attened between 1980 and 2010 in the US, a time of increasing inequality, as high income families increased their fertility. These facts challenge the standard theory. We propose that marketization of parental time costs can explain the changing relationship between income and fertility. We show this result both theoretically and quantitatively, after disciplining the model on US data. We explore implications of changing differential fertility for aggregate human capital. Additionally, policies, such as the minimum wage, that affect the cost of marketization, have a negative effect on the fertility and labor supply of high income women. We end by discussing the insights of this theory to the economics of marital sorting.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Bar & Moshe Hazan & Oksana Leukhina & David Weiss & Hosny Zoabi, 2018. "Why did Rich Families Increase their Fertility? Inequality and Marketization of Child Care," Working Papers 2018-22, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2018-022
    DOI: doi.org/10.20955/wp.2018.022
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Stéphane Auray & David L. Fuller & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2019. "Comparative Advantage and Moonlighting," Working Papers 2019-16, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    2. Seongeun Kim & Michele Tertilt & Minchul Yum, 2019. "Status Externalities and Low Birth Rates in Korea," 2019 Meeting Papers 604, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Bar-El, Ronen & Hatsor, Limor & Tobol, Yossef, 2020. "Home production, market substitutes, and the labor supply of mothers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 378-390.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Income Inequality; Marketization; Differential Fertility; Human Capital; Minimum Wage;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

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