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Optimal life-cycle fertility in a Barro-Becker economy

Listed author(s):
  • Pierre Pestieau

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CORE - Center of Operation Research and Econometrics [Louvain] - UCL - Université Catholique de Louvain, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR)

  • Grégory Ponthière

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Parenthood postponement is a key demographic trend of the last three decades. In order to rationalize that stylized fact, we extend the canonical model by Barro and Becker (Econometrica 57:481–501, 1989) to include two—instead of one—reproduction periods. We examine how the cost structure of early and late children in terms of time and goods affects the optimal fertility timing. Then, we identify conditions that guarantee the existence and uniqueness of a stationary equilibrium with a stationary cohort size. Finally, we examine how the model can rationalize the observed postponement of births, and we highlight two plausible causes: (1) a general rise in the cost of children in terms of goods and (2) a decline in the degree of family altruism.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" with number halshs-01109431.

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Length:
Date of creation: Jan 2015
Publication status: Published in Journal of Population Economics, Springer Verlag, 2015, 28 (1), pp.45-87. 〈10.1007/s00148-014-0511-2〉
Handle: RePEc:hal:pseose:halshs-01109431
DOI: 10.1007/s00148-014-0511-2
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01109431
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/

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  1. Ermisch, John & Ogawa, Naohiro, 1994. "Age at Motherhood in Japan," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 7(4), pages 393-420, November.
  2. 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, 06.
  3. Barro, Robert J & Becker, Gary S, 1989. "Fertility Choice in a Model of Economic Growth," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 481-501, March.
  4. Cigno, Alessandro & Ermisch, John, 1989. "A microeconomic analysis of the timing of births," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 737-760, April.
  5. Ehrlich, Isaac & Lui, Francis T, 1991. "Intergenerational Trade, Longevity, and Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 1029-1059, October.
  6. Heather Joshi, 2002. "Production, Reproduction, and Education: Women, Children, and Work in a British Perspective," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(3), pages 445-474.
  7. Siv Gustafsson, 2001. "Optimal age at motherhood. Theoretical and empirical considerations on postponement of maternity in Europe," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 14(2), pages 225-247.
  8. John Ermisch, 1988. "Econometric Analysis of Birth Rate Dynamics in Britain," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(4), pages 563-576.
  9. Ronald Lee, 2003. "The Demographic Transition: Three Centuries of Fundamental Change," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 167-190, Fall.
  10. Pierre Pestieau & Gregory Ponthiere, 2014. "Optimal fertility along the life cycle," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 55(1), pages 185-224, January.
  11. 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 1126-1154, December.
  12. Shekhar Aiyar & Carl-Johan Dalgaard, 2005. "Total Factor Productivity Revisited: A Dual Approach to Development Accounting," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 52(1), pages 82-102, April.
  13. d'Albis, Hippolyte & Augeraud-Véron, Emmanuelle & Schubert, Katheline, 2010. "Demographic-economic equilibria when the age at motherhood is endogenous," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(6), pages 1211-1221, November.
  14. 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 1411-1441, November.
  15. Samuelson, Paul A, 1975. "The Optimum Growth Rate for Population," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 16(3), pages 531-538, October.
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