nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2023‒03‒06
five papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
University of Wisconsin

  1. Economic Foundations of Contraceptive Transitions: Theories and a Review of the Evidence By Karra, Mahesh; Wilde, Joshua
  2. The Fertility Response to Cutting Child-Related Welfare Benefits By Malte Sandner; Frederik Wiynck
  3. Economic Security and Fertility: Evidence from the Mincome Experiment By Tuna Dökmeci; Carla Rainer; Alyssa Schneebaum
  4. The Old-Age Security Motive for Fertility: Evidence from the Extension of Social Pensions in Namibia By Pauline Rossi; Mathilde Godard
  5. Slavery and the British Industrial Revolution By Heblich, Stephan; Redding, Stephen J.; Voth, Hans-Joachim

  1. By: Karra, Mahesh (Boston University); Wilde, Joshua (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research)
    Abstract: We review the foundations of the economic development-contraception nexus, focusing on the pathways through which economic factors drive contraceptive adoption and change. We investigate the channels through which the relationship between economic development and contraceptive dynamics are mediated. Using global data, we document the correlations between economic development and contraception transitions over time and across geographies. We briefly examine the evidence of the role of fertility, both desired and realized, as a central pathway through which the relationship has been historically theorized and empirically verified. We also discuss a range of mechanisms through which economic development drives contraceptive use independently from fertility decline. Finally, we assess the state and quality of evidence of these relationships and propose directions for future inquiry.
    Keywords: fertility, contraception, demographic transition, development
    JEL: J13 J16 J11 J18 I12 I15
    Date: 2023–01
  2. By: Malte Sandner (Technical University Nürnberg); Frederik Wiynck (Nuremberg Institute of Technology & Institute for Employment Research)
    Abstract: Despite long-term interest in whether welfare benefits motivate fertility, evidence from research has not been consistent. This paper contributes new evidence to this debate by investigating the fertility effect of a German welfare reform. The reform decreased the household income of families on welfare by 18% in the first year after the birth of a baby. Using exclusive access to German social security data on over 460, 000 affected women, our analysis finds that the reform leads to a fertility reduction of 6.8%. This result implies that for mothers on welfare, fertility has an income elasticity of 0.38, which is much smaller than that of general populations reported in the literature. Our findings suggest that welfare recipients' fertility reacts less strongly to financial incentives than the fertility of overall populations.
    Keywords: welfare benefits, fertility, parental leave
    JEL: J13 I38 C54
    Date: 2023–01
  3. By: Tuna Dökmeci (Department of Economics, European University Institute); Carla Rainer (Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business); Alyssa Schneebaum (Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business)
    Abstract: Using experimental data, this paper analyzes the relationship between households' economic security and their fertility decisions for low-income households. Between 1974 and 1977, a randomized controlled trial was conducted in Manitoba, Canada in which the treatment groups received differing levels of guaranteed annual income. All of the program participants were low-income households. We find positive effects of the program on the probability of child birth that range between 7 to 10 percentage points.
    Keywords: fertility, economic security, policy analysis, guaranteed annual income, negative income tax
    JEL: I38 J13 J18
    Date: 2023–02
  4. By: Pauline Rossi (CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - ENSAI - Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Analyse de l'Information [Bruz] - X - École polytechnique - ENSAE Paris - École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR); Mathilde Godard (CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Étienne - Université de Lyon - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: The old-age security motive for fertility postulates that people's needs for old-age support raise the demand for children. We exploit the extension of social pensions in Namibia during the 1990s to provide a quasi-experimental quantification of this widespread idea. The reform eliminated inequalities in pension coverage and benefits across regions and ethnic groups. Combining differences in pre-reform pensions and differences in exposure across cohorts, we show that pensions substantially reduce fertility, especially in late reproductive life. The results suggest that improving social protection for the elderly could go a long way in fostering fertility decline in sub-Saharan Africa. (JEL H55, I38, J13, J14, O15)
    Keywords: Fertility Social security, Old-age pensions, Africa, Difference-in-differences
    Date: 2022–11–01
  5. By: Heblich, Stephan; Redding, Stephen J.; Voth, Hans-Joachim
    Abstract: Did overseas slave-holding by Britons accelerate the Industrial Revolution? We provide theory and evidence on the contribution of slave wealth to Britain's growth prior to 1835. We compare areas of Britain with high and low exposure to the colonial plantation economy, using granular data on wealth from compensation records. Before the major expansion of slave holding from the 1640s onwards, both types of area exhibited similar levels of economic activity. However, by the 1830s, slavery wealth is strongly correlated with economic development - slave-holding areas are less agricultural, closer to cotton mills, and have higher property wealth. We rationalize these findings using a dynamic spatial model, where slavery investment raises the return to capital accumulation, expanding production in capital-intensive sectors. To establish causality, we use arguably exogenous variation in slave mortality on the passage from Africa to the Indies, driven by weather shocks. We show that weather shocks influenced the continued involvement of ancestors in the slave trade; weather-induced slave mortality of slave-trading ancestors in each area is strongly predictive of slaveholding in 1833. Quantifying our model using the observed data, we find that Britain would have been substantially poorer and more agricultural in the absence of overseas slave wealth. Overall, our findings are consistent with the view that slavery wealth accelerated Britain's industrial revolution.
    Keywords: industrial revolution; overseas slave-holding; slavery wealth
    JEL: J15 N63
    Date: 2022–11–16

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