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Aggregate Fertility and Household Savings: A General Equilibrium Analysis using Micro Data

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  • Abhijit Banerjee
  • Xin Meng
  • Tommaso Porzio
  • Nancy Qian

Abstract

This study uses micro data and an overlapping generations (OLG) model to show that general equilibrium (GE) forces are critical for understanding the relationship between aggregate fertility and household savings. First, we document that parents perceive children as an important source of old-age support and that, in partial equilibrium (PE), increased fertility lowers household savings. Then, we construct an OLG model that parametrically matches the PE empirical evidence. Finally, we extend the model to conduct a GE analysis and show that under standard assumptions and with the parameters implied by the data, GE forces can substantially offset the PE effects. Thus, focusing only on the PE can substantially overstate the effect of aggregate fertility on household savings.

Suggested Citation

  • Abhijit Banerjee & Xin Meng & Tommaso Porzio & Nancy Qian, 2014. "Aggregate Fertility and Household Savings: A General Equilibrium Analysis using Micro Data," NBER Working Papers 20050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20050
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    Cited by:

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    2. Raül Santaeulàlia-Llopis & Yu Zheng, 2018. "The Price of Growth: Consumption Insurance in China 1989–2009," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 1-35, October.
    3. Diego Daruich & Julian Kozlowski, 2020. "Explaining Intergenerational Mobility: The Role of Fertility and Family Transfers," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 36, pages 220-245, April.
    4. Charles Yuji Horioka, 2021. "Is the selfish life-cycle model more applicable in Japan and, if so, why? A literature survey," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 157-187, March.
    5. Julian Kozlowski & Diego Daruich, 2016. "Explaining Income Inequality and Intergenerational Mobility: The Role of Fertility and Family Transfers," 2016 Meeting Papers 665, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Leandro De Magalhães & Dongya Koh & Raül Santaeulàlia-Llopis, 2016. "Consumption and Expenditure in Sub-Saharan Africa," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 16/677, School of Economics, University of Bristol, UK, revised 07 Oct 2016.
    7. Leandro De Magalhães & Raül Santaeulàlia-Llopis, 2015. "The Consumption, Income, and Wealth of the Poorest: Cross-Sectional Facts of Rural and Urban Sub-Saharan Africa for Macroeconomists," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 15/655, School of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    8. Nancy Qian, 2017. "The effect of China’s One Child Policy on sex selection, family size, and the school enrolment of daughters," WIDER Working Paper Series 159, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    9. Olivia Bertelli, 2015. "The more the merrier? Adjusting fertility to weather shocks," PSE Working Papers halshs-01226421, HAL.
    10. Olivia Bertelli, 2015. "The more the merrier? Adjusting fertility to weather shocks," Working Papers halshs-01226421, HAL.
    11. Michael Dotsey, 2019. "Demographic Aging, Industrial Policy, and Chinese Economic Growth," 2019 Meeting Papers 640, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    12. Steven Lugauer & Jinlan Ni & Zhichao Yin, 2014. "Micro-Data Evidence on Family Size and Chinese Saving Rates," Working Papers 023, University of Notre Dame, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2014.
    13. Ge, Suqin & Yang, Dennis Tao & Zhang, Junsen, 2018. "Population policies, demographic structural changes, and the Chinese household saving puzzle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 181-209.
    14. Curtis, Chadwick C. & Lugauer, Steven & Mark, Nelson C., 2017. "Demographics and aggregate household saving in Japan, China, and India," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 175-191.
    15. Pauline Rossi & Mathilde Godard, 2019. "The Old-Age Security Motive for Fertility: Evidence from the Extension of Social Pensions in Namibia," Working Papers halshs-02378400, HAL.
    16. Leandro DE MAGALHÃES & Dongya KOH & Räul SANTAEULILA-LLOPIS, 2019. "The Cost of Consumption Smoothing: Less Schooling and less Nutrition," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 85(3), pages 181-208, September.
    17. Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2017. "Growing and Slowing Down Like China," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 15(5), pages 943-988.
    18. Michael Dotsey & Wenli Li & Fang Yang, 2019. "Demographic Aging, Industrial Policy, and Chinese Economic Growth," Working Papers 19-21, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    19. Nancy Qian, 2017. "The effect of China's One Child Policy on sex selection, family size, and the school enrolment of daughters," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2017-159, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    20. Xi Li & Yikai Wang & Tong Zhang, 2018. "China’s Financial System and Economic Imbalances," HKUST IEMS Working Paper Series 2018-53, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised Feb 2018.
    21. İmrohoroğlu, Ayşe & Zhao, Kai, 2018. "The chinese saving rate: Long-term care risks, family insurance, and demographics," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 33-52.
    22. Chen, Yi & Huang, Yingfei, 2018. "The Power of the Government: China's Family Planning Leading. Group and the Fertility Decline since 1970," GLO Discussion Paper Series 204, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    23. Yi Chen & Yingfei Huang, 2020. "The power of the government: China's Family Planning Leading Group and the fertility decline of the 1970s," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 42(35), pages 985-1038.
    24. Jaqueline Oliveira, 2019. "Birth order and the gender gap in educational attainment," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 775-803, September.
    25. Bau, Natalie, 2019. "Can Policy Change Culture? Government Pension Plans and Traditional Kinship Practices," CEPR Discussion Papers 13486, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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