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Bastien Chabe-Ferret, Essex University Print
Friday, 11 May 2018, 12:15 - 13:15

Bastien Chabe-Ferret, Essex University

Economic Uncertainty and Fertility Cycles: the Case of the Post WWII Baby Boom

Abstract : Using the US Census waves 1940-1990 and CPS 1990-2010, we look at how economic uncertainty affected fertility cycles over the course of the XXth century. We use cross- state and cross-cohort variation in the volatility of income growth to identify the causal link running from uncertainty to fertility. We find that economic uncertainty has a large and robust negative effect on completed fertility. We hypothesize that a greater economic uncertainty increases the risk of large consumption swings, which individuals mitigate by postponing fertility and ultimately decreasing their completed fertility. Differences in volatility account for between 45% and 61% of the one child variation observed during the post WWII baby boom. 

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