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Bargaining over Babies: Theory, Evidence, and Policy Implications

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  • Matthias Doepke
  • Fabian Kindermann

Abstract

It takes a woman and a man to make a baby. This fact suggests that for a birth to take place, the parents should first agree on wanting a child. Using newly available data on fertility preferences and outcomes, we show that indeed, babies are likely to arrive only if both parents desire one, and there are many couples who disagree on having babies. We then build a bargaining model of fertility choice and match the model to data from a set of European countries with very low fertility rates. The distribution of the burden of child care between mothers and fathers turns out to be a key determinant of fertility. A policy that lowers the child care burden specifically on mothers can be more than twice as effective at increasing the fertility rate compared to a general child subsidy.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthias Doepke & Fabian Kindermann, 2016. "Bargaining over Babies: Theory, Evidence, and Policy Implications," NBER Working Papers 22072, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22072
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Doepke, M. & Tertilt, M., 2016. "Families in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    2. repec:eee:ecmode:v:70:y:2018:i:c:p:15-28 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:dem:demres:v:38:y:2018:i:49 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Marcén, Miriam & Molina, José Alberto & Morales, Marina, 2018. "The effect of culture on the fertility decisions of immigrant women in the United States," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 15-28.
    5. repec:dem:demres:v:37:y:2017:i:12 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Lídia Farré & Libertad González, 2017. "The Effects of Paternity Leave on Fertility and Labor Market Outcomes," Working Papers 978, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    7. Matthias Doepke & Michèle Tertilt, 2018. "Women’s Empowerment, the Gender Gap in Desired Fertility, and Fertility Outcomes in Developing Countries," Working Papers 2018-001, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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