IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

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 - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics, CORE - Center of Operation Research and Econometrics [Louvain] - UCL - Université Catholique de Louvain, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR)

  • Grégory Ponthière

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics)

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

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

in new window

Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00676500
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server:
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Pierre Pestieau & Grégory Ponthière, 2011. "Optimal Fertility along the Lifecycle," PSE Working Papers hal-00612609, HAL.
  4. 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 531-38, October.
  5. Matthias Doepke, 2002. "Child Mortality and Fertility Decline: Does the Barro-Becker Model Fit the Facts?," UCLA Economics Working Papers 824, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Ehrlich, Isaac & Lui, Francis T, 1991. "Intergenerational Trade, Longevity, and Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 1029-59, October.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. repec:hal:wpaper:hal-00612609 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Hippolyte D'Albis & Emmanuelle Augeraud-Véron & Katheline Schubert, 2010. "Demographic-economic equilibria when the age at motherhood is endogenous," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00547274, HAL.
  15. Ermisch, John & Ogawa, Naohiro, 1994. "Age at Motherhood in Japan," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 393-420, November.
  16. Cigno, Alessandro & Ermisch, John, 1989. "A microeconomic analysis of the timing of births," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 737-760, April.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00676500. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (CCSD)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.