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Fertility and Childlessness in the United States

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  • Thomas TB Baudin
  • David De la Croix
  • Paula Eugenia Gobbi

Abstract

We develop a theory of fertility, distinguishing its intensive margin from its extensive margin. The deep parameters are identified using facts from the 1990 US Census: (i) fertility of mothers decreases with education; (ii) childlessness exhibits a U-shaped relationship with education; (iii) the relationship between marriage rates and education is hump-shaped for women and increasing for men. We estimate that 2.5 percent of women were childless because of poverty and 8.1 percent because of high opportunity cost of childrearing. Over time, historical trends in total factor productivity and in education led to a U-shaped response in childlessness rates while fertility of mothers decreased. (JEL I20, J13, J16, N31, N32)
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Suggested Citation

  • Thomas TB Baudin & David De la Croix & Paula Eugenia Gobbi, 2015. "Fertility and Childlessness in the United States," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/265943, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/265943
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    1. Hertz Tom & Jayasundera Tamara & Piraino Patrizio & Selcuk Sibel & Smith Nicole & Verashchagina Alina, 2008. "The Inheritance of Educational Inequality: International Comparisons and Fifty-Year Trends," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(2), pages 1-48, January.
    2. Galor, Oded & Weil, David N, 1996. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 374-387, June.
    3. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2006. "Appendices: Business cycle accounting," Staff Report 362, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    4. Larry E. Jones & Alice Schoonbroodt, 2010. "Complements Versus Substitutes And Trends In Fertility Choice In Dynastic Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(3), pages 671-699, August.
    5. George A. Akerlof & Janet L. Yellen & Michael L. Katz, 1996. "An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 277-317.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Hannah Liepmann, 2016. "The Impact of a Negative Labor Demand Shock on Fertility - Evidence from the Fall of the Berlin Wall," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2016-042, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    2. Doepke, M. & Tertilt, M., 2016. "Families in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    3. Battaglia, Marianna & Chabé-Ferret, Bastien & Lebedinski, Lara, 2017. "Segregation and Fertility: The Case of the Roma in Serbia," IZA Discussion Papers 10929, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. David de la Croix & Eric B. Schneider & Jacob Weisdorf, 2017. ""Decessit sine prole" Childlessness, Celibacy, and Survival of the Richest in Pre-Industrial England," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2017001, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    5. Melvyn G. Coles & Marco Francesconi, 2013. "Equilibrium Search and the Impact of Equal Opportunities for Women," CESifo Working Paper Series 4556, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Lucia Granelli, 2016. "Family Tax Policy in a Model with Endogenous Fertility à la Barro-Becker," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2016010, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    7. David Canning & Declan French & Michael Moore, 2016. "The Economics of Fertility Timing: An Euler Equation Approach," CHaRMS Working Papers 16-03, Centre for HeAlth Research at the Management School (CHaRMS).
    8. David de la Croix & Aude Pommeret, 2017. "Childbearing Postponement, its Option Value, and the Biological Clock," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2017016, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    9. Thomas Baudin, 2015. "Religion and fertility: The French connection," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 32(13), pages 397-420, February.
    10. Thomas Baudin & Robert Stelter, 2016. "Rural exodus and fertility at the time of industrialization," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2016020, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    11. Daniel Aaronson & Fabian Lange & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2014. "Fertility Transitions along the Extensive and Intensive Margins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(11), pages 3701-3724, November.
    12. Sandra Brée & David de la Croix, 2016. "Key Forces Behind the Decline of Fertility: Lessons from Childlessness in Rouen before the Industrial Revolution," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2016014, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    13. Johanna Etner & Natacha Raffin & Thomas Seegmuller, 2016. ""The Falling Sperm Counts Story": A Limit to Growth?," AMSE Working Papers 1625, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised 04 Jul 2016.
    14. Thomas BAUDIN & David de la CROIX & Paula GOBBI, 2015. "Development Policies when Accounting for the Extensive Margin of Fertility," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2015003, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    15. Santiago Garganta & Leonardo Gasparini & Mariana Marchionni & Mariano Tappatá, 2017. "The Effect of Cash Transfers on Fertility: Evidence from Argentina," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 36(1), pages 1-24, February.
    16. Holger STICHNOTH & Mustafa YETER, 2016. "Cultural Influences on the Fertility Behavior of First- and Second-Generation Immigrants," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 82(3), pages 281-314, September.
    17. Momota, Akira, 2016. "Intensive and extensive margins of fertility, capital accumulation, and economic welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 90-110.
    18. Olfa Frini & Christophe Muller, 2017. "Fertility Regulation Behavior: Sequential Decisions in Tunisia," Working Papers halshs-01624778, HAL.
    19. Chiara Comolli & Fabrizio Bernardi, 2015. "The causal effect of the great recession on childlessness of white American women," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-24, December.
    20. repec:dem:demres:v:37:y:2017:i:12 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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