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Differences in fertility behavior and uncertainty: an economic theory of the minority status hypothesis

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  • Paolo Melindi-Ghidi

    () (EconomiX - UPN - Université Paris Nanterre - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Bastien Chabé-Ferret

Abstract

We revisit the question of why fertility behaviors and educational decisions appear to vary systematically across ethnic groups. We assess the possibility that differences in fertility across groups remain even though their socio-economic characteristics are similar. More specifically, we consider that parents' fertility decisions are affected by the uncertainty concerning the future economic status of their offspring. We assume that this uncertainty varies across groups and is linked to the size of the group one belongs to. We find theoretical support for the minority status hypothesis according to which members of large minorities usually have a higher fertility than those in the majority facing low potential for social mobility while small minorities have lower fertility.

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo Melindi-Ghidi & Bastien Chabé-Ferret, 2013. "Differences in fertility behavior and uncertainty: an economic theory of the minority status hypothesis," Post-Print hal-01614013, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01614013
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01614013
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
    2. Kevin Lang, 1986. "A Language Theory of Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(2), pages 363-382.
    3. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2000. ""Beyond the Melting Pot": Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 955-988.
    4. de la Croix, David & Doepke, Matthias, 2004. "Public versus private education when differential fertility matters," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 607-629, April.
    5. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
    6. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-895, October.
    7. Kalemli-Ozcan, Sebnem, 2003. "A stochastic model of mortality, fertility, and human capital investment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 103-118, February.
    8. Matthias Doepke, 2005. "Child mortality and fertility decline: Does the Barro-Becker model fit the facts?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 18(2), pages 337-366, June.
    9. David de la Croix & Matthias Doepke, 2003. "Inequality and Growth: Why Differential Fertility Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1091-1113, September.
    10. George Hondroyiannis, 2010. "Fertility Determinants and Economic Uncertainty: An Assessment Using European Panel Data," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 33-50, March.
    11. Simon, Curtis J & Warner, John T, 1992. "Matchmaker, Matchmaker: The Effect of Old Boy Networks on Job Match Quality, Earnings, and Tenure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(3), pages 306-330, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Battaglia, Marianna & Chabé-Ferret, Bastien & Lebedinski, Lara, 2017. "Segregation and Fertility: The Case of the Roma in Serbia," IZA Discussion Papers 10929, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Rosa Aisa & Joaquín Andaluz & Gemma Larramona, 2017. "Fertility patterns in the Roma population of Spain," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 115-133, March.
    3. 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.
    4. Emeline Bezin & Bastien Chabé-Ferret & David de la Croix, 2018. "Strategic Fertility, Education Choices and Conflicts in Deeply Divided Societies," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2018011, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    5. David de la Croix & Clara Delavallade, 2018. "Religions, Fertility, And Growth In Southeast Asia," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 59(2), pages 907-946, May.
    6. Melindi-Ghidi, Paolo & Seegmuller, Thomas, 2019. "The love for children hypothesis and the multiplicity of fertility rates," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 89-100.
    7. repec:spr:eurpop:v:34:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s10680-017-9438-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:dem:demres:v:36:y:2017:i:45 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

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    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • 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

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