Structural Change and the Fertility Transition

45 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2019

See all articles by Philipp Ager

Philipp Ager

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Benedikt Herz

European Union - European Commission

Date Written: March 2019

Abstract

This paper provides new insights on the relationship between structural change and the fertility transition. We exploit the spread of an agricultural pest in the American South in the 1890s as plausibly exogenous variation in agricultural production to establish a causal link between earnings opportunities in agriculture and fertility. Households staying in agriculture reduced fertility because children are a normal good, while households switching to manufacturing reduced fertility because of the higher opportunity costs of raising children. The lower earnings opportunities in agriculture also decreased the value of child labor which increased schooling, consistent with a quantity-quality model of fertility.

Keywords: Agricultural Income, Fertility Transition, Industrialization, structural change

JEL Classification: J13, N31, O14

Suggested Citation

Ager, Philipp and Herz, Benedikt, Structural Change and the Fertility Transition (March 2019). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP13609. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3360076

Philipp Ager (Contact Author)

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics ( email )

DK-5230 Odense
Denmark

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Benedikt Herz

European Union - European Commission ( email )

Rue de la Loi 200
Brussels, B-1049
Belgium

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