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Gender Power, Fertility, and Family Policy

  • Kemnitz, Alexander
  • Thum, Marcel

The birth of children often shifts the power balance within a family. If family decisions are made according to the spouses' welfare function, this shift in power may lead to a time consistency problem. The allocation of resources after the birth of children may differ from the ex-ante optimal choice. In a model of cooperative decision making within a family, we show that this time consistency problem leads to a systematic downward bias in fertility choices. By keeping fertility low, families try to mitigate the ex-ante undesired shift in the power balance. This bias in fertility choices provides scope for welfare enhancing policy intervention. We discuss the extent to which existing measures in family policy are suitable to overcome the fertility bias.

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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association in its series Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order with number 79827.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc13:79827
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  1. Valérie Lechene & Ian Preston, 2010. "Non cooperative household demand," IFS Working Papers W10/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Fenge, Robert & Meier, Volker, 2005. "Pensions and Fertility Incentives," Munich Reprints in Economics 20343, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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  4. Hazan, Moshe & Zoabi, Hosny, 2011. "Do Highly Educated Women Choose Smaller Families?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8590, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Iyigun, Murat & Walsh, Randall P., 2007. "Endogenous gender power, household labor supply and the demographic transition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 138-155, January.
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  9. Volker Meier & Matthias Wrede, 2008. "Reducing the Excess Burden of Subsidizing the Stork: Joint Taxation, Individual Taxation, and Family Tax Splitting," CESifo Working Paper Series 2470, CESifo Group Munich.
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  13. Raphaela Hyee & Julio R. Robledo, 2009. "Specialization in the Bargaining Family," Working Papers 640, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  14. Konrad, Kai A & Lommerud, Kjell Erik, 1995. " Family Policy with Non-cooperative Families," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 581-601, December.
  15. Hans-Werner Sinn, 1997. "The Value of Children and Immigrants in a Pay-As-You-Go Pension System: A Proposal for a Partial Transition to a Funded System," NBER Working Papers 6229, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Cigno, Alessandro, 1992. "Children and Pensions," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 175-83, August.
  17. Shelly Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak, 2001. "Efficiency in Marriage," NBER Working Papers 8642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Timo Hener, 2010. "Do Couples Bargain over Fertility? Evidence Based on Child Preference Data," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper Nr. 92, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  19. Elisabeth Gugl, 2009. "Income splitting, specialization, and intra-family distribution," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 42(3), pages 1050-1071, August.
  20. Kaushik Basu, 2006. "Gender and Say: a Model of Household Behaviour with Endogenously Determined Balance of Power," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(511), pages 558-580, 04.
  21. Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2004. "Fertility, Taxation and Family Policy," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(4), pages 745-763, December.
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