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Female Relative Wages, Household Specialization and Fertility

Siegel, Christian (2017) Female Relative Wages, Household Specialization and Fertility. Review of Economic Dynamics, 24 (March). pp. 152-174. ISSN 1094-2025. (doi:10.1016/j.red.2017.01.010) (KAR id:60228)

Abstract

Falling fertility rates have often been linked to rising female wages. However, over the last 40 years the US total fertility rate has been rather stable while female wages have continued to grow. Over the same period, women's hours spent on housework have declined, but men's have increased. I propose a model in which households are not perfectly specialized, but both men and women contribute to home production. As the gender wage gap narrows, the time allocations of men and women converge, and while fertility falls at first, the decline stops when female wages are close to male's. Rising relative wages increase women's labor supply and due to higher opportunity cost lower fertility at first, but they also lead to a reallocation of home production and child care from women to men, and a marketization. I find that both are important in understanding why fertility did not decline further.

In a further quantitative exercise I show that the model performs well in matching fertility over the entire 20th century, including the overall decline, the baby boom, and the recent stabilization.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.red.2017.01.010
Uncontrolled keywords: Fertility, Female Labor Supply, Household Production, Intrahousehold Allocations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Economics
Depositing User: Christian Siegel
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2017 14:44 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2020 17:19 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/60228 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Siegel, Christian: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1686-8686
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