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Do Highly Educated Women Choose Smaller Families?

Moshe Hazan

Tel Aviv University - Eitan Berglas School of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Hosny Zoabi

New Economic School (NES)

October 2011

CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP8590

Conventional wisdom suggests that in developed countries income and fertility are negatively correlated. We present new evidence that between 2001 and 2009 the cross-sectional relationship between fertility and women's education in the U.S. is U-shaped. At the same time, average hours worked increase monotonically with women's education. This pattern is true for all women and mothers to newborns regardless of marital status. In this paper, we advance the marketization hypothesis for explaining the positive correlation between fertility and female labor supply along the educational gradient. In our model, raising children and home-making require parents' time, which could be substituted by services bought in the market such as baby-sitting and housekeeping. Highly educated women substitute a significant part of their own time for market services to raise children and run their households, which enables them to have more children and work longer hours. Finally, we use our model to shed light on differences between the U.S. and Western Europe in fertility and women's time allocated to labor supply and home production. We argue that higher inequality in the U.S. lowers the cost of baby-sitting and housekeeping services and enables U.S. women to have more children, spend less time on home production and work more than their European counterparts.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 46

Keywords: fertility, U.S. - Europe differences, Women's education

JEL Classification: E24, J13, J22

Date posted: October 12, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Hazan, Moshe and Zoabi, Hosny, Do Highly Educated Women Choose Smaller Families? (October 2011). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP8590. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1942756

Contact Information

Moshe Hazan (Contact Author)
Tel Aviv University - Eitan Berglas School of Economics ( email )
P.O. Box 39040
Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, 69978
HOME PAGE: http://moshehazan.weebly.com/
Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom
Hosny Zoabi
New Economic School (NES) ( email )
47 Nakhimovsky Prospekt
Moscow, 117418
Feedback to SSRN

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