IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Social Security, Differential Fertility, and the Dynamics of the Earnings Distribution

Economists and demographers have long argued that fertility differs by income (differential fertility), and that social security creates incentives for people to rear fewer children. Does the effect of social security on fertility differ by income? How does social security change the cross-sectional relationship between fertility and income? Does social security further affect the dynamics of the earnings distribution by changing differential fertility? We answer these questions in a three-period OLG model with heterogeneous agents and endogenous fertility. We argue that given its redistributional property, social security affects people's fertility behavior differentially by income. In the model, earning ability is transmitted from parents to children. Hence, social security can have a significant impact on the dynamics of the earnings distribution through its effects on differential fertility. The mechanism used in the model to generate differential fertility is novel. We follow the line of the "old-age security" hypothesis and assume that children are an investment good in parents' old-age consumption. Thus,the optimal fertility choice depends on how much transfer is expected from children in relation to the cost of rearing these children to adult life. Since the intergenerational earnings process is mean-reverting, poor (rich) parents tend to have more (fewer) children because they have lower (higher) child-rearing cost and expect their children will have higher (lower) earnings than themselves and give back relatively more (less) in transfers. Social security reduces fertility by substituting children out of parents' old-age portfolio. It reduces fertility of the poor proportionally more than it reduces fertility of the rich because social security payments are a larger portion of old-age savings for poor people. These results are consistent with features of the U.S. fertility data. We calibrate the model to the U.S. data and find that social security can explain 32% of the decline in poor-rich fertility differential between the cohort of women born during 1891-1895 and the cohort of women born during 1946-1950.

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://economics.uwo.ca/research/department_working_papers_docs/wp2009/wp2009_1.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics in its series UWO Department of Economics Working Papers with number 20091.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uwo:uwowop:20091
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Reference Centre, Social Science Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5C2
Phone: 519-661-2111 Ext.85244
Web page: http://economics.uwo.ca/research/research_papers/department_working_papers.html

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. Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2002. "Why Do Women Wait? Matching, Wage Inequality, and the Incentives for Fertility Delay," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 815-855, October.
  2. Luisa Fuster & Ayse Imrohoroglu & Selahattin Imrohoroglu, 2004. "Elimination of Social Security in a Dynastic Framework," Macroeconomics 0402008, EconWPA.
  3. Zhao, Kai, 2011. "War Debt and the Baby Boom," MPRA Paper 36330, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Nishimura, Kazuo & Zhang, Junsen, 1992. "Pay-as-you-go public pensions with endogenous fertility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 239-258, July.
  5. Barro, R.J. & Becker, G.S., 1988. "Fertility Choice In A Model Of Economic Growth," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 88-8, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  6. Cigno, Alessandro & Rosati, Furio C., 1996. "Jointly determined saving and fertility behaviour: Theory, and estimates for Germany, Italy, UK and USA," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1561-1589, November.
  7. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura, 1997. "Understanding Why High Income Households Save More Than Low Income Households," Working Papers 9701, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  8. Jensen, Eric R, 1990. "An Econometric Analysis of the Old-Age Security Motive for Childbearing," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(4), pages 953-68, November.
  9. David de la Croix & Matthias Doepke, 2003. "Inequality and Growth: Why Differential Fertility Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1091-1113, September.
  10. Jie Zhang, 2001. "Long-Run Implications of Social Security Taxation for Growth and Fertility," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 713-724, January.
  11. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura, 1999. "On the Distributional Effects of Social Security Reform," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(3), pages 498-531, July.
  12. Lagerlof, Nils-Petter, 1997. "Endogenous fertility and the old-age security hypothesis: A note," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 279-286, May.
  13. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, . "More on Marriage, Fertility, and the Distribution of Inocome," Penn CARESS Working Papers 65f9ffed93b3a872de23c94c2, Penn Economics Department.
  14. Gary Solon, 2002. "Cross-Country Differences in Intergenerational Earnings Mobility," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 59-66, Summer.
  15. Oded Galor, 2004. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," GE, Growth, Math methods 0409003, EconWPA.
  16. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-26, Sept./Oct.
  17. Juster, F Thomas & Stafford, Frank P, 1991. "The Allocation of Time: Empirical Findings, Behavioral Models, and Problems of Measurement," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 471-522, June.
  18. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1976. "Child Endowments and the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S143-62, August.
  19. Mariacristina De Nardi, 2002. "Wealth inequality and intergenerational links," Staff Report 314, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  20. Echevarria, Cristina & Merlo, Antonio, 1999. "Gender Differences in Education in a Dynamic Household Bargaining Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(2), pages 265-86, May.
  21. Karine S. Moe, 1998. "Fertility, Time Use, and Economic Development," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 699-718, July.
  22. Michele Boldrin & Larry E. Jones, 2002. "Mortality, Fertility, and Saving in a Malthusian Economy," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 775-814, October.
  23. Lee Lillard & Robert Willis, 1997. "Motives for interqenerational transfers: Evidence from Malaysia," Demography, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 115-134, February.
  24. Becker, Gary S, 1988. "Family Economics and Macro Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 1-13, March.
  25. de la Croix, David & Doepke, Matthias, 2004. "Public versus private education when differential fertility matters," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 607-629, April.
  26. Michael Kremer & Daniel Chen, 2000. "Income-distribution Dynamics with Endogenous Fertility," NBER Working Papers 7530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Michele Boldrin & Mariacristina De Nardi & Larry E. Jones, 2005. "Fertility and Social Security," NBER Working Papers 11146, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Ana Castaneda & Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2003. "Accounting for the U.S. Earnings and Wealth Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 818-857, August.
  29. Rosati, Furio Camillo, 1996. "Social security in a non-altruistic model with uncertainty and endogenous fertility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 283-294, May.
  30. 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.
  31. Isaac Ehrlich & Jinyoung Kim, 2005. "Social Security, Demographic Trends, and Economic Growth: Theory and Evidence from the International Experience," NBER Working Papers 11121, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S279-88, Part II, .
  33. Zhang, Junsen & Zhang, Jie & Lee, Ronald, 2001. "Mortality decline and long-run economic growth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 485-507, June.
  34. Bental, Benjamin, 1989. "The Old Age Security Hypothesis and Optimal Population Growth," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 285-301.
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:uwo:uwowop:20091. 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: ()

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.