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Fertility and Consumption when Having a Child is a Risky Investment



This paper studies children as a risky asset associated to an investment option. Children provide utility but have a stochastic maintenance cost. We obtain several new results relative to models where children are deterministic goods, among which: i) Higher child risks diminish fertility and consumption. ii) Risk aversion speeds up fertility as households use the safe utility derived from a child as insurance against fluctuations in consumption. iii) Fertility is increasing in the correlation between income and child cost shocks. The household is reluctant to have children when positive cost shocks come together with bad income shocks. The opposite result happens when children hedge income shocks. iv) The sign of the correlation determines whether higher income volatility speeds up or delays fertility.

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro Gete and Paolo Porchia, 2011. "Fertility and Consumption when Having a Child is a Risky Investment," Working Papers gueconwpa~11-11-03, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~11-11-03

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rajeev Dehejia & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2004. "Booms, Busts, and Babies' Health," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 1091-1130.
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    4. Larry E. Jones & Alice Schoonbroodt & Michèle Tertilt, 2010. "Fertility Theories: Can They Explain the Negative Fertility-Income Relationship?," NBER Chapters,in: Demography and the Economy, pages 43-100 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    6. Pedro Mira & Namkee Ahn, 2002. "A note on the changing relationship between fertility and female employment rates in developed countries," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(4), pages 667-682.
    7. Terry, Stephen J. & Knotek II, Edward S., 2011. "Markov-chain approximations of vector autoregressions: Application of general multivariate-normal integration techniques," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(1), pages 4-6, January.
    8. Alicia Adsera, 2006. "An Economic Analysis of the Gap Between Desired and Actual Fertility: The Case of Spain," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 75-95, March.
    9. Emanuela Cardia & Serena Ng, 2003. "Intergenerational Time Transfers and Childcare," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(2), pages 431-454, April.
    10. Adsera, Alicia & Menendez, Alicia, 2009. "Fertility Changes in Latin America in the Context of Economic Uncertainty," IZA Discussion Papers 4019, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Juan Carlos Conesa, 2002. "Educational attainment and timing of fertility decisions," Working Papers in Economics 78, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
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    13. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
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    15. Caballero, Ricardo J, 1991. "Earnings Uncertainty and Aggregate Wealth Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 859-871, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wang, Ruixin, 2015. "Essays on development economics and public economics," Other publications TiSEM e1779514-5b71-4726-925b-2, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    2. Janina Reinkowski, 2013. "Should We Care that They Care? Grandchild Care and Its Impact on Grandparent Health," ifo Working Paper Series 165, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    3. Janina Reinkowski, 2014. "Empirical Essays in the Economics of Ageing and the Economics of Innovation," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 53, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
    • G00 - Financial Economics - - General - - - General
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance

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