NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Baby Busts and Baby Booms: The Fertility Response to Shocks in Dynastic Models

Larry E. Jones, Alice Schoonbroodt

NBER Working Paper No. 16596
Issued in December 2010
NBER Program(s):   EFG

Economic demographers have long analyzed fertility cycles. This paper builds a foundation for these cycles in a model of fertility choice with dynastic altruism and aggregate shocks. It is shown that under reasonable parameter values, fertility is pro-cyclical and that, following a shock, fertility continues to cycle endogenously as subsequent cohorts enter retirement. Quantitatively, in the model, the Great Depression generates a large baby bust -- between 38% and 63% of that seen in the U.S. in the 1930s -- which is subsequently followed by a baby boom -- between 53% and 92% of that seen in the U.S. in the 1950s.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16596

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