IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Measuring the Value of Children by Birth Order and Infant Health


  • Frank Heiland


One of the important determinants of fertility behavior is the value (cost and benefits) of children as perceived by parents. This value is likely to vary by child and parental characteristics, household income, and other aspects of the socioeconomic environment. Since it is non-economic as well as economic in nature, the true value can only be obtained after a proper aggregation of these two different types of values. This paper estimates the value of children by infant health and birth order using a dynamic programming model. The underlying hypothesis is that the observed fertility outcome of parents is the solution to their life-cycle optimization problem. Findings from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1979 Cohort) indicate that the perceived net benefits from a child are larger the earlier it is in the birth order. Better-educated mothers have a higher benefit from children early in the birth order than lower-educated mothers. Amongst first children, those who experienced poor health during infancy yield a higher value than healthy children to their parents.

Suggested Citation

  • Frank Heiland, 2001. "Measuring the Value of Children by Birth Order and Infant Health," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 267, Society for Computational Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sce:scecf1:267

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    More about this item


    Health; Fertility;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sce:scecf1:267. 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: (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.