Are Children 'Normal'?

47 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2011

See all articles by Dan Black

Dan Black

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy

Natalia Kolesnikova

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Seth G. Sanders

University of Maryland - Department of Economics

Lowell J. Taylor

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management

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Abstract

We examine Becker's (1960) contention that children are "normal." For the cross section of non-Hispanic white married couples in the U.S., we show that when we restrict comparisons to similarly-educated women living in similarly-expensive locations, completed fertility is positively correlated with the husband's income. The empirical evidence is consistent with children being "normal." In an effort to show causal effects, we analyze the localized impact on fertility of the mid-1970s increase in world energy prices – an exogenous shock that substantially increased men's incomes in the Appalachian coal-mining region. Empirical evidence for that population indicates that fertility increases in men's income.

Keywords: economics of fertility, location choice, Appalachian fertility

JEL Classification: J13, J40

Suggested Citation

Black, Dan and Kolesnikova, Natalia and Sanders, Seth G. and Taylor, Lowell J., Are Children 'Normal'?. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1929659 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1929659

Dan Black (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Natalia Kolesnikova

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis ( email )

411 Locust St
Saint Louis, MO 63011
United States

Seth G. Sanders

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States

Lowell J. Taylor

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-268-3278 (Phone)
412-268-7036 (Fax)

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