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Fertility Changes in Latin America in the Context of Economic Uncertainty

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  • Adsera, Alicia

    (Princeton University)

  • Menendez, Alicia

    (University of Chicago)

Abstract

We explore the relation between fertility and the business cycle in Latin American countries taking advantage of the existing cross-country and within-country differences in both fertility and macroeconomic conditions. First, we use a panel of 18 nations for over 45 years to study how different labor market and economic shocks may have affected fertility. Second, we estimate Cox proportional hazard models of transitions to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd births with individual Demographic and Health Survey data from ten countries. We find that periods of relative high unemployment are associated with lower fertility and with relative postponements of maternity (and to some extent second and third births). In general, women seem to postpone and even reduce childbearing in response to downturns. This behavior is mainly associated to increasing unemployment rather than slowdowns in GPD growth, although we find a positive relationship between first births and growth. Despite that periods of unemployment may be good to have children because opportunity costs are lower, maternity is reduced or postponed, in particular, among the most recent cohort and among urban and more educated women. This is consistent with the idea that, in this context, income effects are dominant.

Suggested Citation

  • Adsera, Alicia & Menendez, Alicia, 2009. "Fertility Changes in Latin America in the Context of Economic Uncertainty," IZA Discussion Papers 4019, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4019
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    Cited by:

    1. Emilia Bono & Andrea Weber & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2015. "Fertility and economic instability: the role of unemployment and job displacement," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 463-478, April.
    2. Wolfgang Auer & Natalia Danzer & Anita Fichtl, 2015. "Ökonomische Unsicherheit: Befristete Verträge erschweren Familiengründung," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 68(18), pages 35-41, September.
    3. Shoumitro Chatterjee & Tom Vogl, 2016. "Growth and Childbearing in the Short- and Long-Run," NBER Working Papers 23000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Wolfgang Auer & Natalia Danzer, 2016. "Fixed-Term Employment and Fertility: Evidence from German Micro Data," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 62(4), pages 595-623.
    5. Kasey Buckles & Daniel Hungerman & Steven Lugauer, 2021. "Is Fertility a Leading Economic Indicator?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 131(634), pages 541-565.
    6. Susanne Fahlén & Livia Sz. Oláh, 2018. "Economic uncertainty and first-birth intentions in Europe," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 39(28), pages 795-834.
    7. Piotr Dominiak & Ewa Lechman & Anna Okonowicz, 2015. "Fertility Rebound And Economic Growth. New Evidence For 18 Countries Over The Period 1970–2011," Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy, Institute of Economic Research, vol. 10(1), pages 91-112, March.
    8. Gete, Pedro & Porchia, Paolo, 2010. "Fertility and Consumption when Having a Child is a Risky Investment," MPRA Paper 27885, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Yu-Hu LIN & Wen-Yi CHEN, 2018. "On the Relationship between Business Cycle and Fertility Rate in Taiwan: Evidence from the Nonlinear Cointegration Methodology," Journal for Economic Forecasting, Institute for Economic Forecasting, vol. 0(1), pages 140-156, December.
    10. Chiara Ludovica Comolli, 2017. "The fertility response to the Great Recession in Europe and the United States: Structural economic conditions and perceived economic uncertainty," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 36(51), pages 1549-1600.
    11. World Bank, . "Work and Family : Latin American and Caribbean Women in Search of a New Balance [Trabajo & familia : mujeres de América Latina y el Caribe en busca de un nuevo equilibrio - Resumen ejecuivo (Vol. 2," World Bank Other Operational Studies, The World Bank, number 12489, September.
    12. Wolfgang Auer, 2018. "Empirische Aufsätze zu den sozioökonomischen Konsequenzen von ökonomischer Unsicherheit," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 79, August.
    13. Luis Rosero-Bixby & Teresa Castro Martín & Teresa Martín García, 2009. "Is Latin America starting to retreat from early and universal childbearing?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 20(9), pages 169-194.
    14. Sabarwal, Shwetlena & Sinha, Nistha & Buvinic, Mayra, 2011. "How Do Women Weather Economic Shocks? What We Know," World Bank - Economic Premise, The World Bank, issue 46, pages 1-6, January.
    15. Eleonora Davalos & Leonardo Fabio Morales, 2017. "Economic crisis promotes fertility decline in poor areas: Evidence from Colombia," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 37(27), pages 867-888.
    16. Magda Tsaneva & Pinar Mine Gunes, 2020. "The effect of violent crime on teenage pregnancy in Mexico," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 141-164, March.
    17. Wolfgang Auer & Natalia Danzer, 2015. "Uncertainty in the labour market: How does fixed-term employment affect fertility and mental health of the young generation?," IBS Working Papers 6/2015, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.
    18. Sabarwal, Shwetlena & Sinha, Nistha & Buvinic, Mayra, 2010. "How do women weather economic shocks ? a review of the evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5496, The World Bank.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Latin America; unemployment; fertility; growth;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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