NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Lisa J. Dettling

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Working Papers

October 2011House Prices and Birth Rates: The Impact of the Real Estate Market on the Decision to Have a Baby
with Melissa Schettini Kearney: w17485
This project investigates how changes in Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)- level housing prices affect household fertility decisions. Recognizing that housing is a major cost associated with child rearing, and assuming that children are normal goods, we hypothesize that an increase in real estate prices will have a negative price effect on current period fertility. This applies to both potential first-time homeowners and current homeowners who might upgrade to a bigger house with the addition of a child. On the other hand, for current homeowners, an increase in MSA-level house prices will increase home equity, leading to a positive effect on birth rates. Controlling for MSA fixed effects, trends, and time-varying conditions, our analysis finds that indeed, short-term increases in house ...

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