IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Schooling, Fertility, and Married Female Labor Supply: What Role for Health?

Registered author(s):

    Between the latter nineteenth century and the 1930s there was a dramatic revolution in American families. Family size continued its long-term decline, the schooling of older children expanded and the proportion of married females' adulthood devoted to market-oriented activities increased. Over this same period there were significant reductions in mortality, especially among the young, and impressive reductions in morbidity. This paper considers all these trends jointly, modeling the changes in fertility, child schooling and lifetime married female labor supply as a consequence of exogenous changes in health. These interactions are then quantified using calibration techniques. The simulations suggest that reductions in child mortality alone cannot explain the transformation of the American family. Indeed, in our preferred calibration, reductions in child mortality lead to a modest decline in human capital and increase in fertility, with little effect on married female labor force involvement. In sharp contrast, reductions in morbidity are found to lower fertility and increase education. The time savings from lower fertility more than offset the increased time mothers invest in their childrens' quality, freeing some time for market work. Nevertheless, to quantitatively account for the increase in mother's time spent at work it proves necessary to generate further reductions in mother's household production time. In our framework this is driven by a narrowing of the gender wage gap. More generally, viewing the implications of health improvements deepens our understanding of the American family transformation, complementing explanations based on narrowing of the gender wage gap, skill biased technical change and changes in household technology.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.umbc.edu/economics/wpapers/wp_09_108.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by UMBC Department of Economics in its series UMBC Economics Department Working Papers with number 09-108.

    as
    in new window

    Length: 36 pages
    Date of creation: 11 Sep 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:umb:econwp:09108
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    UMBC Department of Economics 1000 Hilltop Circle Baltimore MD 21250, USA

    Phone: 410-455-2160
    Fax: 410-455-1054
    Web page: http://www.umbc.edu/economics

    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information: Email:


    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299.
    2. Fogel, Robert W, 2004. "Health, Nutrition, and Economic Growth," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(3), pages 643-58, April.
    3. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, 1986. "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," NBER Working Papers 1793, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Matthias Doepke & Moshe Hazan & Yishay D. Maoz, 2015. "The Baby Boom and World War II: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(3), pages 1031-1073.
    5. Bruno L. s. Falcão & Rodrigo Reis Soares, 2006. "The Demographic Transition and the Sexual Division of Labor," Textos para discussão 528, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
    6. Strauss, J. & Thomas, D., 1995. "Health, Nutrition and Economic development," Papers 95-23, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
    7. Stefania Albanesi & Claudia Olivetti, 2006. "Gender roles and technological progress," 2006 Meeting Papers 411, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Hazan, Moshe & Zoabi, Hosny, 2005. "Does Longevity Cause Growth?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4931, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Anne Case & Christina Paxson & Mahnaz Islam, 2008. "Making Sense Of The Labor Market Height Premium: Evidence From The British Household Panel Survey," Working Papers 1072, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
    10. Hoyt Bleakley, 2007. "Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 73-117.
    11. Greenwood,J. & Seshadri,A. & Yorukoglu,M., 2002. "Engines of liberation," Working papers 1, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    12. Parsons, Donald O & Goldin, Claudia, 1989. "Parental Altruism and Self-Interest: Child Labor among Late Nineteenth-Century American Families," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(4), pages 637-59, October.
    13. Connolly, Michelle, 2004. "Human Capital and Growth in the Postbellum South: A Separate but Unequal Story," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(02), pages 363-399, June.
    14. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
    15. Galor, Oded, 2004. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 4581, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. Margo, Robert A., 2000. "Wages and Labor Markets in the United States, 1820-1860," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226505077, September.
    17. Lord, William & Rangazas, Peter, 1993. "Altruism, Deficit Policies, and the Wealth of Future Generations," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(4), pages 609-30, October.
    18. Larry E. Jones & Michele Tertilt, 2006. "An Economic History of Fertility in the U.S.: 1826-1960," NBER Working Papers 12796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. William Lord & Peter Rangazas, 2006. "Fertility and development: the roles of schooling and family production," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 229-261, September.
    20. Ramey, Valerie A., 2009. "Time Spent in Home Production in the Twentieth-Century United States: New Estimates from Old Data," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(01), pages 1-47, March.
    21. Quamrul H. Ashraf & Ashley Lester & David N. Weil, 2009. "When Does Improving Health Raise GDP?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23, pages 157-204 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
    23. Kevin M. Murphy & Curtis Simon & Robert Tamura, 2008. "Fertility Decline, Baby Boom, and Economic Growth," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(3), pages 262-302.
    24. Salam Abdus & Peter Rangazas, 2011. "Adult Nutrition and Growth," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(4), pages 636-649, October.
    25. Hoyt Bleakley, 2009. "Economic Effects of Childhood Exposure to Tropical Disease," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 218-23, May.
    26. Moshe Hazan & Hosny Zoabi, 2006. "Does longevity cause growth? A theoretical critique," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 363-376, December.
    27. Moshe Hazan, 2009. "Longevity and Lifetime Labor Supply: Evidence and Implications," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(6), pages 1829-1863, November.
    28. Samuel H. Preston & Michael R. Haines, 1991. "Fatal Years: Child Mortality in Late Nineteenth-Century America," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number pres91-1.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:umb:econwp:09108. 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: (Christelle Viauroux)

    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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.