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The Baby Boom and Baby Bust

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Abstract:

What caused the baby boom? And can it be explained within the context of the secular decline in fertility that has occurred over the last 200 years? The hypothesis is that:



(a) The secular decline in fertility is due to the relentless rise in real wages that increased the opportunity cost of having children;

(b) The baby boom is explained by an atypical burst of technological progress in the household sector that occurred in the middle of the last century. This lowered the cost of having children.



A model is developed in an attempt to account, quantitatively, for both the baby boom and bust.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1257/0002828053828680

Publication date: March 1, 2005

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