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Optimal Lifecycle Fertility in a Barro Becker Economy

  • Pierre Pestieau

    (CREPP - Center of Research in Public Economics and Population Economics - Université de Liège, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, CORE - Center of Operation Research and Econometrics [Louvain] - Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) - Belgique, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR)

  • Grégory Ponthière

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)

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 (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 a¤ects the optimal fertility timing. Then, focusing a stationary equilibrium with stationary population, we provide two alternative explanations for the observed postponement of births: (1) a fall of the direct cost of late children (thanks to medical advances); (2) a rise in hourly productivity, which increases the (relative) opportunity costs of early children in comparison to late children.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00676500.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00676500
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  1. Pierre Pestieau & Grégory Ponthière, 2011. "Optimal Fertility along the Lifecycle," PSE Working Papers hal-00612609, HAL.
  2. Pierre Pestieau & Gregory Ponthiere, 2014. "Optimal fertility along the life cycle," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 55(1), pages 185-224, January.
  3. Robert J. Barro & Gary S. Becker, . "Fertility Choice in a Model of Economic Growth," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 88-8, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  4. Siv Gustafsson, 2001. "Optimal age at motherhood. Theoretical and empirical considerations on postponement of maternity in Europe," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 225-247.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Matthias Doepke, 2005. "Child mortality and fertility decline: Does the Barro-Becker model fit the facts?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 337-366, 06.
  9. Ermisch, John & Ogawa, Naohiro, 1994. "Age at Motherhood in Japan," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 393-420, November.
  10. 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.
  11. repec:hal:wpaper:hal-00612609 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Cigno, Alessandro & Ermisch, John, 1989. "A microeconomic analysis of the timing of births," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 737-760, April.
  15. 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.
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