A Quantitative Analysis of Swedish Fertility Dynamics: 1751-1990

Posted: 11 Jun 2001

See all articles by Zvi Eckstein

Zvi Eckstein

The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Pedro Mira

Centro de Estudios Monetarios y Financieros (CEMFI)

Kenneth I. Wolpin

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics

Abstract

This paper analyzes the relationship between age-specific fertility, mortality and real wages in Sweden during the demographic transition. We take an overlapping generations model of life cycle fertility and fit it to actual Swedish time-series data over the past two and a half centuries. The model fits the data well, accurately portraying the total fertility decline from more than four children per female before the mid-19th century to about two children today. About 80% of this decline was in fertility that occurred at female ages over 30. The fitted model implies that reductions in child mortality over this period is the most important factor explaining the fertility decline, while increases in the real wage can explain only less than one-third of the decline in fertility. However, their combined effect was considerably larger than a simple summing up would predict. The fertility decline was magnified as well by the combination of increasing real wages and rising adult survival rates. In addition, we find that a model that is estimated based only on pre-transition data would actually overstate the subsequent fertility decline.

JEL Classification: J1, N3

Suggested Citation

Eckstein, Zvi and Mira, Pedro and Wolpin, Kenneth I., A Quantitative Analysis of Swedish Fertility Dynamics: 1751-1990. Review in Economic Dynamics, Vol. 2, No. 1, January 1999 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=273073

Zvi Eckstein

The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Pedro Mira (Contact Author)

Centro de Estudios Monetarios y Financieros (CEMFI) ( email )

Casado del Alisal 5
28014 Madrid
Spain
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34 91 429 1056 (Fax)

Kenneth I. Wolpin

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-7708 (Phone)
215-573-2057 (Fax)

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