Is Fertility a Leading Economic Indicator?
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.
We are grateful for comments from participants in the H2D2 Conference at the University of Michigan and the NBER Children’s Program meeting, and in the many seminars where we presented this paper. We also thank Anna Aizer, Martha Bailey, Christiane Baumeister, Hernan Boedo, Bill Evans, Ana Herrera, and Caroline Hoxby for useful comments and suggestions. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Kasey Buckles & Daniel Hungerman & Steven Lugauer, 2021. "Is Fertility a Leading Economic Indicator?," The Economic Journal, vol 131(634), pages 541-565. citation courtesy of