The United States Fertility Decline: Lessons from Slavery and Slave Emancipation
Economic theories of fertility decline often center on the rising net price of children. But empirical tests of such theories are hampered both by the inability to adequately measure this price and by endogeneity bias. I develop a model of household production in the 19th century United States with own children and slave labor as inputs and use the model to show how the price of own children would have changed with changes in the household’s slaveholdings. I propose that slave children born to mothers owned by Southern households imparted plausibly exogenous shocks to the net price of the slaveowning household’s own children. Using a panel dataset of white Southern households between 1850 and 1870, I measure the fertility response of families to this changing price and show a strong, negative correlation between the predicted price of children and household fertility rates. To further corroborate these results, I measure the fertility response of households to another shock to the price of their own children: slave emancipation. Again, I find a strong, negative correlation between predicted prices and fertility rates. The results are consistent with theories of the demographic transition centered on the rising price of children.
|Date of creation:||Jul 2009|
|Date of revision:||Feb 2012|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany|
Web page: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
More information through EDIRC
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:42390. 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: (Joachim Winter)
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.