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Fertility theories: can they explain the negative fertility-income relationship?

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

In this chapter we revisit the relationship between income and fertility. There is overwhelming empirical evidence that fertility is negatively related to income in most countries at most times. Several theories have been proposed in the literature to explain this somewhat puzzling fact. The most common one is based on the opportunity cost of time being higher for individuals with higher earnings. Alternatively, people might differ in their desire to procreate and accordingly some people invest more in children and less in market-specific human capital and thus have lower earnings. We revisit these and other possible explanations. We find that these theories arenot as robust as is commonly believed. That is, several special assumptions are needed to generate the negative relationship. Not all assumptions are equally plausible. Such findings will be useful to distinguish alternative theories. We conclude that further research along these lines is needed.

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Citation

Jones, Larry E., Schoonbroodt, Alice and Tertilt, Michele, (2010) Fertility theories: can they explain the negative fertility-income relationship? Shoven, John B. (ed.) In Demography and the Economy. National Bureau for Economic Research., p. 77.

More information

Published date: August 2010
Venue - Dates: NBER Conference, 2008-04-11 - 2008-04-12

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 150067
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/150067
PURE UUID: 3e07102c-1e44-40be-b215-2870d594ab02

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Date deposited: 05 May 2010 11:04
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 19:22

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Contributors

Author: Larry E. Jones
Author: Alice Schoonbroodt
Author: Michele Tertilt
Editor: John B. Shoven

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