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Optimal Fertility Decisions in a Life Cycle Model

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  • Rees, Ray
  • Scholz, Sebastian

Abstract

This model is the first to solve for the optimal timing of childbirth and number of children in a continuous time framework simultaneously. The model depicts how changes in wage at different stages of an individual’s life influence the timing decision of childbirth and the optimal number of children. When a woman wants to have more children, she decides to have them at a younger age. Medical research that extends the fecund life span induces women to have fewer children. A reduction of the parental leave due to daycare centers or a reduction in the costs of leave due to child benefits increase the number of children. Women value labour more, when they face the risk of an unknown divorce. This paper also shows that divorce does not change the timing of childbirth directly, it influences the number of children negatively and the reduced number of children delays the timing. The model can be used to predict upper bound fertility rates, when the expected divorce rate continues to increase.

Suggested Citation

  • Rees, Ray & Scholz, Sebastian, 2010. "Optimal Fertility Decisions in a Life Cycle Model," Discussion Papers in Economics 11316, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:11316
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    File URL: https://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/11316/1/Optimal_Fertility_Decisions_in_a_Life_Cycle_Model.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2004. "Fertility, Taxation and Family Policy," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(4), pages 745-763, December.
    6. Browning, Martin, 1992. "Children and Household Economic Behavior," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1434-1475, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ross Guest & Nick Parr, 2010. "The Effects of Family Benefits on Childbearing Decisions: A Household Optimising Approach Applied to Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 86(275), pages 609-619, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fertility; Timing of Childbirth; Number of Children;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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