NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Is Fertility a Leading Economic Indicator?

Kasey Buckles, Daniel Hungerman, Steven Lugauer

NBER Working Paper No. 24355
Issued in February 2018
NBER Program(s):Children, Economic Fluctuations and Growth

Many papers show that aggregate fertility is pro-cyclical over the business cycle. In this paper we do something else: using data on more than 100 million births and focusing on within-year changes in fertility, we show that for recent recessions in the United States, the growth rate for conceptions begins to fall several quarters prior to economic decline. Our findings suggest that fertility behavior is more forward-looking and sensitive to changes in short-run expectations about the economy than previously thought.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24355

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